Children’s Book Publishers Think ‘Outside the Book’
Berkley, Calif.-based Tricycle Press’ marketing manager Laura Mancuso says her company, the children’s imprint of Ten Speed Press that produces 25 children’s books a year, has gone as far as to re-launch its site, offering downloads equivalent to the CDs that come with its books. “It’s about making it convenient for the reader as much as anything,” Mancuso says. “That being said, we haven’t really found the Internet to be a great source of money for our business. But we look at it as an extra value we’re giving the consumer.”
Sondra LaBrie, marketing manager of La Jolla, Calif.-based Kane/Miller Publishers, says every single book her company puts out has its own page on the company’s Web site and a consumer site to add the book to a shopping cart. “We have a blurb for the book, reviews, and most of our authors and illustrators have a bio and a link to their Web site if available.”
Deborah Shine, publisher of Long Island City, N.Y.-based Star Bright Books, likes to keep it simpler, mostly using her company’s Web site just for book ordering. It also limits e-mails to consumers to new book announcements. “A lot of publishing companies bother people with endless e-mails,” she says. “I think there comes a point where that can have a negative effect.”
One thing is for certain: Children are more engaged with technology than ever. A recent study by Scholastic revealed that four in 10 children use technology for reading, with the computer cited as the device most often used. A somewhat surprising correlation was that children who tended to use technology for reading were found to read more often than those who didn’t.
This has inspired some companies to use text messaging campaigns to children, but Mancuso thinks it’s more for branding purposes than for more rings of the cash register. “I just don’t see kids getting an IM [instant message] and then immediately running to the bookstore,” he says.