It was a lively gathering at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in NYC on January 13th, as professionals from the children’s book industry gathered for the Launch Kids conference as a part of Digital Book World. Early on in the program, Nielsen Book’s Jonathan Nowell and Jo Henry presented data stating that the main means of discovery for parents buying books for kids ages 7-12 comes directly from the child. While it was just one of many stats presented in a data-packed morning, it proved to be a common theme throughout the conference. If kids themselves are driving sales, how should publishers be reinventing themselves to reach their target audience?
Indeed, it seems like kids are being put at the forefront when it comes to all aspects of book business. On the retail side, Tara Catogge of ReaderLink highlighted the third and fourth rows of a typical retail book display, calling it the “buggy level,” an area where children in strollers had access to grabbing books off the shelves. This idea was also echoed throughout the day with other ideas that put children in positions of choice: Deborah Forte highlighted a mobile Scholastic Book Fair app that let children scan books for their wish lists; Marjan Ghara presented her startup BiblioNasium, which acts as an online social recommendation site for kids a la Goodreads; and Dominique Raccah talked about the increasing success of Sourcebooks’ Put Me In the Story that creates a narrative around the reader itself.
When it comes to marketing, being able to communicate directly with kids was also a focus. Rebecca Levey of KidzVuz talked about her Youtube-like platform, the only COPPA-compliant video website available for kids where books are the most popular category on the site, making peer-to-peer book recommendations possible over the web. Author Sarah Mlynowski presented the various social media platforms she uses to communicate with her middle grade and YA audiences, demonstrating how hashtags and giveaways can spark viral interest. Random House’s Anna Jarzab and Wattpad’s Ashleigh Gardner also echoed the importance of personalized voices for every social media platform where a company has a presence, stressing the fact that young users should be made to feel special. Read More