In the opening session of today’s Launch Kids conference at Digital Book World 2016, Sourcebooks CEO and Publisher Dominique Raccah spoke to the innovations her company is making, as well as the greater trends in the children’s/young adult (YA) book publishing sector.
“The surprise transformation in our industry,” Raccah said, “is the persistence of traditional books.”
Ninety percent of teens, according to Raccah, read physical books, and 40 percent read exclusively physical books. Children and teens are “not abandoning traditional forms of entertainment.”
Physical books, Raccah said, are “actually a social statement, “a point of view,” “a way of expressing oneself.”
But there is a momentum in children’s and YA publishing that goes beyond just children and teens. Referring to the sector as “a freight train,” Raccah said there has been 25-percent growth between 2010 and 2015. Moreover, retail spaces are actually building out their children’s/YA areas and adding real estate.
At Sourcebooks, specifically, growth was up throughout the company 17 percent in 2015, and 23 percent so far in 2016. The breakdown in where Sourcebooks’s revenue came from in 2015, according to Raccah, was as follows: 34 precent children/YA, 30 percent adult, 17 percent adult non-fiction, 15 percent e-commerce, 4 percent other.
Part of Sourcebook’s transformation has been with its Put Me in the Story (PMITS) book personalization site, which Raccah said answers the question of how to create additional revenue through personalized books.
Since its launch, PMITS has become the number one personalized book site in the United States, and has added 36 percent new units to Sourcebooks’s sales. Put another way, for every 100 traditional books Sourcebooks sells, the publisher sells an additional 36 personalized ones.
“We have found a way to create a fairly extraordinary customer experience,” Raccah said.
Raccah believes there is “a world of opportunity” in children’s and YA publishing, and “invite[s] us all to work together.”
Sourcebooks has recently partnered with HarperCollins and is experimenting with non-book products.
“I believe that content really matters,” Raccah said. “Content and authors really matter to your readers.”
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