McDonald's UK has struck a deal with eReading provider Kobo to offer its Happy Meal buyers access to free digital books, as part of its plan to deliver a "fun, enriched experience" for customers.
Launching today (30 April) in conjunction with the new 'Secret Seven' Happy Meal book promotion, an e-book voucher will feature on every Happy Meal box enabling parents to download a free children's e-book compatible with a wide range of electronic devices and operating systems.
On Nov. 1, in celebration of National Family Literacy Day, McDonald's began offering print books to Happy Meal customers. In line with this initiative, the fast food restaurant chain has also updated its official Happy Meal iOS app, McPlay, with interactive e-books. This week's edition of Shelf Control is then dedicated to the newly updated McPlay app for iOS.
Recently, the leadership of the American Library Association (ALA) met with senior management from several large publishing houses. Some of them allow libraries to purchase and own their e‑books (Random House; Perseus). Some of them are not making their e‑books available to libraries (Macmillan; Simon and Schuster). And some are somewhere in the middle (Penguin, until recently; and Harper–Collins with its "26 circulations" loan cap model). In all of our meetings with the publishing executives (all of the aforementioned except HarperCollins), we found that for those not making their e‑books available through libraries, the sticking point was identifying a business model that protected their digital editions from piracy and loss of sales. These are understandable concerns.