Friday, August 20, 2010

A View From the Top: Four Publishers Discuss our Industry

These are my rough notes from the SCBWI LA Summer Conference, 2010. Apologies - a bit sketchy and at times I lost track of who said what here...

Justin Chanda: Simon & Schuster

Jennifer Hunt: Little Brown Books

Stephanie Owens Lurie: Disney-Hyperion

Francesco Sedita: Penguin Young Readers

Francesco: Young readers want something they feel they can read, but isn't so light-weight that they feel incompetent. Must be readable for reluctant readers. Illustrated.

Stephanie: 80% of titles are commercial. 20% are literary, award winning books.

Justin: The commercial v. literary divide is false.

The state of the US market today:

Francesco: The rules may be wiggling. We need content first and foremost. Want the newest, most exciting, out-of-the-box stories.

Justin: If your face is melting because you love it so much, we will acquire it.

Stephanie: Twilight, Diary of a Wimpy Kid are selling in huge numbers – never seen before. The “No Child Left Behind” initiative damaged trade picture books. Teachers had no time to use trade books because they were all spending time teaching to the test.

Embracing technology trend – interaction with picture books.

Where there are no shelf space issues, the ratio is 50/50 picture books/novels.

If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks.”

No kids' magazines anymore, so it's hard to market books to kids.

Ebooks – Justin thinks they're great. Every hardback goes to eBook at Simon & Schuster.

Loser Queen” - you can co-author a story online by voting.

39 Clues

Proposal for digital would be considered. Learn together. Pay attention. Give your opinion/suggestions.

Enhanced book” includes an app., interviews, photos, games etc.

Kids in Walt Disney World after dark - “Kingdom Keepers” series. Cult book – trans-media game. Had to read book to play the game. Gave you keys. 3rd book sold 70% higher than 1st two.

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