Sparking the Interest of Young Readers
● With children’s books, Web sites that complement the book titles seem particularly important because children are so eager to be engaged on the computer. How is Candlewick using the Web to complement its titles and further engage its
Lotz: One of the ways we’ve been promoting our titles at Candlewick that has been particularly successful is to create in-depth, behind-the-scenes interviews with the authors and illustrators of our books. These “shorts” can be distributed [in] a number of ways, including on disk, via our own Web site, via podcasts, in conjunction with not-for-profit organizations, and through online retailers.
[In regards to Web sites,] we pursued, [for example], OlogyWorld (www.OlogyWorld.com, which was launched in June) because we knew that our obsessive young fans wanted a more frequent way to interact with their favorite author and subjects––and also because passion and community go together so naturally. Because the “Ologies” [the series of books that includes “Egyptology,” “Dragonology” and “Wizardology”] are truly a worldwide phenomenon with more than 13.7-million copies sold in 32 languages, a Web site—which reaches readers around the globe—was a natural fit. … This comprehensive site allows fans the opportunity to more deeply explore each subject. OlogyWorld.com members receive insider tips, members-only advance information on upcoming publications and special promotional opportunities. There are also online games, activities and movie clips, so visitors to OlogyWorld.com will have an interactive experience.
● Candlewick has experienced impressive growth in recent years. To what do you attribute this growth?
Lotz: Candlewick has had double-digit sales increases the last three years: 39 percent in 2004, 41 percent in 2005, and 13.9 percent in 2006, with sales close to $58.9 million. We’ve also grown from 44 titles and six employees when we were founded in 1992 to 220 titles and 88 employees in 2007. Although the growth rate of our traditional trade business has slowed down in 2006 to 2007, in 2008 through 2010, we will be launching some new business initiatives that we hope will carry us into new channels with the same welcome we’ve received for our expanded publishing program.