There’s been a lot going on this week, including L. Diane Wolfe’s fabulous post yesterday. Thank you, Diane for stopping by! So, this is the first chance I’ve had to write about a Washington Post article I read from last Sunday. The title of that article was “The Future of Children’s Book Publishing.” (Except without the capitalization - has anybody else noticed that article titles online no longer capitalize except for the first word? I’m probably the only person this bugs.)
The article covered some things we already know, like:
Publishers are trying to entice kids to read books by offering companion Web sites that are graphic-rich and able to plunge young readers into the story. Along with the tale on the page, kids can dip into online videos and games, win prizes, create Internet identities and get into social networking.You may wonder why publishers would put so much money into the online presence when what they want to do is sell the print book. Michael Norris, an analyst for the media research firm Simba Information, said:
"If you think about the long-term future of the industry, the people who are reading 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' today will hopefully be reading a thick piece of literature in a few years."Publishers are aware of the attraction of the Internet and know that “entertaining the kids with the printed page seems to grow more difficult by the year.” Kids, even young kids, are turning to computers, games, television and even cell phones for entertainment.
In January, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that the time spent on all entertainment by kids from 8 to 18 rose from 6.5 hours a day five years ago to 7.5 hours a day. But only 25 minutes were typically spent reading a book.So publishers are going where the kids go. Online. With online games that include giveaways like collectible cards or fun gadgets like Disney’s Digital Book site where kids can turn pages with a “magic pen.” HarperCollins published a missing-girl mystery, "The Amanda Project," with a major online social networking component. And they’re, of course, releasing e-books.
Jeff Kinney, author of the best-selling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, summed it all up:
"At the heart, you still have to have good storytelling," Kinney said. "You can't resort to gimmickry and hope to retain an audience."We all know that authors have to have an online presence in today’s world. Whether you write for the adult, teen, ‘tween or children’s market, what things do you add to your site to help with promotion?