By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid
Sesame Workshop is now selling seven titles on the Nook Color, marking the first time that Sesame will sell digitally through Barnes & Noble and signaling the company’s expansion strategy. Barnes & Noble is expected to announce the new initiative tomorrow in a statement.
One of the seven titles, The Monster at the End of This Book, is already the No. 1 selling book in Nook Kids, according to Barnes & Noble. The popular title has been a perennial best-seller for Sesame, both in print and electronically.
The expansion is the third such move since late November 2011 for the non-profit children’s publishing powerhouse since it quietly started selling 26 color children’s picture e-book titles on the Kindle Fire, which neither Amazon nor Sesame has yet announced. Amazon is expected to make an announcement on a number of similar licensing deals, including Sesame, in the Spring.
“We love what Barnes & Noble is doing for us,” Jennifer Perry, vice president of worldwide publishing for Sesame Workshop told Digital Book World in an interview today. “Barnes & Noble is an important part of Sesame Street book distribution and we’ve been looking forward to working with Barnes & Noble in digital for a long time.”
Last week, at the Digital Book World Conference in New York, Sesame announced a partnership with Random House for the big-six publisher to develop and distribute print-book-based e-books and apps that will be designed in-house by subsidiary Smashing Ideas. Random House is a long-time publishing partner of Sesame Street print books.
The Random House partnership along with expansion to the Kindle Fire and Nook color are part of Sesame’s plan to widen its e-book distribution, according to Perry, with the goal of fulfilling the non-profit’s mission of reaching children “everywhere.” Previously, the only tablet computer Sesame e-books and apps were available on was the iPad.
Expanding into the Nook Color and Kindle Fire will help Sesame reach nearly the entire tablet market. The partnership with Random House will help Sesame expand even further into Kobo, Samsung and other tablet devices, according to Perry.
Sesame works with many developers, print publishers and booksellers to create and distribute its electronic media, including New York-based app developer Callaway Digital Arts, Lincolnwood, Ill.-based children’s publisher Publications International and New York- and India- based digital publishing vendor Impelsys, among others.
Seven titles is just the beginning for Sesame on the Nook Color.
“There are lots more to come,” said senior director of children’s digital products at Barnes&Noble.com, Wendy Bronfin, who joined Barnes & Noble in 2009 after six years at Sesame Workshop. “We’re happy to work with them on as many titles as they want to bring to us.”
New to the Nook Color are three titles with audio supplements, which is a feature not offered in the 26 Sesame titles available on the Kindle Fire.
The bulk of Sesame’s business is still in print, said Perry, but that could shift soon as more people own tablets and parents spend more money on digital rather than print children’s books. In each of the past four years, Sesame has sold between 22 and 23 million print books a year.
“We’re at the infancy of adoption of digital picture books for kids,” said Bronfin. “Certain titles are selling like wildfire in digital format. We see certain titles in digital format outperforming the print books.”
Write to Jeremy Greenfield