Scholastic's Leslie Garych and Tracy Van Straaten Talk Up the Ins and Outs of Online Catalogs
Extra: There seem to be several genre- and topic-specific editions of your catalogs (for instance, the Bullies and Bullying edition). Does doing online cataloging allow you to more precisely target your titles and buyers?
Tracy Van Straaten: The genre-specific catalogs/lists are created by different groups. For example, the “teen/tween” and “science fiction/fantasy” catalogs are created by my team (publicity), and we had been doing those for years as print catalogs to send to select media outlets interested in those genres/age groups. They are now available digitally instead (at a lower cost) and to a wider distribution, which is great. Others are created for our sales team by their request, or based on trends in the industry. The great thing is that we can be very nimble, and create them quickly and easily.
Extra: What was the biggest challenge for you in converting to a digital-online catalog?
Garych: Lining up our systems to provide appropriate information at the right time. Understanding that once information is online, it is available to anyone with Internet access, whether it is an industry colleague or not. Great care must be taken in what information can be shared and when.
Extra: What are some types of information you need to be more careful about with an online catalog?
Van Straaten: We need to be sure that any book titles, publication dates, book covers, etc., that we are planning to announce in a special or exclusive way are not released in the digital catalog prior to the announcement—because once the catalog is live, the information is public. Also, especially with digital cover images, they can be copied/pasted digitally in a way that was not possible from a printed catalog. Once the catalog is live online, bloggers and other media outlets can copy/paste them to their web sites. Which is terrific exposure, of course, but not if we are planning a special “reveal” first. It’s just a matter of coordinating the timing of the flow of information in a more precise way than when the catalog was printed.