Saturday, April 28, 2012

Worldreader: Using E-books to Change Lives in Africa

Through this blog, I'm in contact with so many authors of e-books for children and young adults. That's why I thought you'd be interested in Seth Godin's blog post yesterday, sharing the news about Worldreader and encouraging publishing houses and authors to donate books to this program. 

Worldreader is a non profit that gives Kindles to children in sub-Saharan Africa. They just completed a study analyzing the effects of the one-year pilot program in Ghana, and the results are promising. There were significant increases in reading skill, in time spent reading, and in the variety and number of books available to the children. The program proved to be cost effective when compared to the price of shipping books combined with the short shelf life of a paper book.

Check out the links I've provided. If you are interested in donating your e-book to this program, the Worldreader site has the specifics on how you (or your publisher) can get involved. 

For the latest bestselling e-books for kids here in the states, check this week's updated list.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Does It Mean to Be. . . a Best Seller?

On April 14th, What Does it Mean to be Green? by Rana DiOrio hit the number 9 spot in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble e-bookstore. She joins us today to share all about her e-format experience. 

First, Rana, tell us what your book is about.

This colorful, insightful story demystifies for children what it means to be green by helping them to view everyday tasks through an environmentally-friendly lens. The book empowers children to do whatever they can to protect the Earth’s precious resources. Don’t be surprised if they start coming up with suggestions of their own for you!

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? 

What Does It Mean To Be Green? is also available as a hardback. It is, of course, printed on recycled paper with soy inks and without a superfluous (and environmentally suspect) dust jacket! The printed book came first. The eBooks came shortly thereafter. We always intended to release the eBook on all available platforms. The idea is to get the content to our young audience in whatever format is most accessible and enjoyable to them.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing?  Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

E-publishing was always part of the Master Plan for this title and for all of the titles at Little Pickle Press. We always planned to extrapolate the original content into digital forms that our readers would access in the manner to which they have become accustomed–––iPad/iPhone, Nook Reader, Kindle Fire, etc. We were excited when we launched the products, and we're even more optimistic about their potential today than we were initially. Digital products have global reach and impact. They are also easy to share with communities in need. For example, we will be giving copies of What Does It Mean To Be Green?, among other titles, to Worldreader to load onto their Kindles to promote literacy in third world countries. We will also be donating this title, among others, for use in a Summer Readathon sponsored by MeMe Tales to promote literacy in this country.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

I'd say the top ways that people are finding out about our book are:

  • winning awards––this title has garnered 3 industry awards: (1) a 2010 Gold Mom's Choice Award in the Children's Picture Book: Green Earth category; (2) a 2011 Gold Benjamin Franklin Award in the eBooks category; and (3) a 2011 Green Prize for Sustainability in Literature Award.
  • being recognized by the blogging community, folks like you––thank you!
  • getting noticed by the editors at the various platforms and being editorially featured
  • receiving favorable book and eBook reviews written by influencers
  • engaging the community as part of our own social media efforts
  • running promotions to catalyze adoption and readership––during the month of March, we gave this title away for free in the iBookstore and Nook Bookstore
  • reading and presenting the title in classrooms throughout the country
  • participating in eco-friendly events, such as the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival or Green Fest SF, where the constituents really care about the subject matter 
Learn more about Rana DiOrio and her books at the Little Pickle Press website, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest and at the Little Pickle Press blog.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Legions of Readers for Karice Bolton

I first contacted Karice Bolton on April 7th, when her e-book, Awakening, hit the number 8 spot in the Teen section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store.  Then the following week, Awakening bumped up to number 6, and another book by Karice, Legions, hit number 7.  When I told her, she responded, "Wow! That's great news! Thank you so very much!!"  Wow, indeed!  I was delighted to see on today's Kids EBook Bestseller list Karice now has THREE books in the top ten! Awakening climbed another step to number 5, Legions is number 6 AND Cataclysm is number 8. Today she joins us to talk about Legions  

Karice, what's this book about?

Legions is a paranormal romance and is the second book in The Watchers Trilogy. [
Awakening, Legions and Cataclysm]
It becomes apparent that Legions have begun their uprising around the globe, and Ana does her best to stay strong even though her world has been shattered. It is up to Ana to find strength from within and not fall prey to the dark side as she begins her chase to reclaim what’s rightfully hers.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?

I think e-publishing is an exciting avenue and offers more availability and selection to the reader. Once I decided to e-publish my books, I was amazed at how friendly and engaging the community was. It’s been a really fun, scary, and exhilarating adventure. I’ve really been enjoying the experience. As a reader, I love that at ten o’clock at night I can download a new book and snuggle in for the night. It’s a really great time for all of the book lovers out there, myself included!

As you got into e-publishing, have you discovered unexpected things? 

The community has been such a wonderful discovery, and I’ve loved getting to know so many people who love books as much as I do. It has been great getting to form relationships with fellow readers, bloggers, and authors. 

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? How do you see the world of e-publishing for children within the next 5 years?

Storytelling is flourishing, and I believe over the next five years the e-format will continue to expand. I think there’s a need and room for both, but I feel as more people realize the flexibility that e-devices offer, the market will continue to grow. Specifically for children, I believe really thrilling things are happening within the e-publishing industry, especially for educational purposes. I think that as the e-reading devices continue to evolve, it will provide greater opportunities for children both in school and at home.

Learn more about Karice Bolton and The Watchers Trilogy at her website, her blog, her Facebook page or by following her on Twitter.

And check this week's Kids' EBook Bestseller List for more top ten authors and their fantastic books!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Numbers Are In: The Growth of E-Books is Phenomenal!

Within the past month, two major reports on e-book sales have confirmed what we already knew: the e-book market is expanding at break-neck speed. 

On March 28th, The Association of American Publishers reported strong January revenue growth in  both print and electronic books, over all audiences. But the stats show especially strong growth on the electronic side. 

They reported that in adult books, e-books experienced a 49.4% increase comparing January 2011 to January 2012.  And in children’s/young adult books the increase for e-books was  475.1%  comparing  January 2011 to January 2012.  Yes, I typed that correctly -- a 475.1% increase. CLICK HERE for the full report. 

Also, on April 4th the Pew Internet and American Life Project released their findings about “The Rise of E-Reading.” 21% of Americans say they have read an e-book in the previous year, up from 17% pre-Christmas. The study found that people who are reading e-books are reading more than those who are reading print books. They are also buying more books and borrowing less from the library. 

Ownership of e-book readers like the original Kindle and Nook jumped from 10% in December to 19% in January and ownership of tablet computers such as iPads and Kindle Fires increased from 10% in mid-December to 19% in January. In all, 29% of Americans age 18 and older own at least one specialized device for e-book reading – either a tablet or an e-book reader. Some 41% of tablet owners and 35% of e-reading device owners said they are reading more since the advent of e-content. To read the full report, CLICK HERE

If you're interested in reading more, the Pew findings triggered several related articles at CNN,  USA Today and PC World

Check back on Saturday when I'll feature an interview with Karice Bolton, urban fantasy author of the The Watchers Trilogy. Two of those three books have hit the Kids' E-Book Bestseller List!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tiger's Voyage -- On a Trip to the Top Ten

For four weeks, including today, Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck has been in the top ten in the Children's section of the Sony E-Bookstore. It's the third book in her Tiger Saga series. 

Tell us what Tiger's Voyage is about.

When Kelsey Hayes agrees to escort a prized white tiger from an American circus to exotic India, she embarks upon an extraordinary adventure filled with magic, danger, and the wonder of young love.

How did you get published? Traditional or independent?

I started out as a self-published author and realized some exciting moments there which led to getting a literary agent, a Hollywood movie deal, and foreign publications before I was picked up for traditional publication in the Unites States.

Is your book available in print format?  How did your e-book come about?

Yes. When I self published my first two books, TIGER'S CURSE & TIGER'S QUEST, I published them both as Print on Demand paper copies as well as in e-book format. The e-book was a last minute decision and it was the best decision I ever made as a self-published author. From the time my books went live until the time they were taken down so we could release the traditionally published version, over 95% of my sales were e-books. Now that I'm traditionally published under Sterling in the US and under several foreign publishers, my e-books are available around the world. Students who might be interested in practicing reading German can buy the German edition as an e-book without the expense of shipping a book from Germany to the United States.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing?  Have those initial thoughts changed now that youâve done it?

I believe e-publishing is altering the landscape of publishing in ways we don't yet even realize. If I hadn't e-pubbed, I don't think I would have attracted the attention of New York publishers or agents. I had no idea there were so many readers utilizing that method. The numbers of books I sold in that format shocked me.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not? 

I believe there will always be room for paper books but I also believe the day is coming that we will see e-books overtake paper. My nephew for his 8th birthday got a Kindle Fire and he loves it and reads constantly. As a result my 5 year old niece lamented that she didn't have one yet. I think that in the very near future textbooks will disappear and children will use e-readers for study and homework.

How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.

I use Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads daily. My fans tweet and send messages to their social groups to help me promote my books. I just did an online scavenger hunt with 60 other authors who write for young adults and not only did thousands of tweets go out in just three days, but the hunt webpage got over 50,000 hits. Because the event happened online, I was able to network with and get to know authors who work with a variety of publishing houses. Doing this allows us to link our fan bases to other authors with similar styles increasing our overall readership.

You can also learn more about Colleen and her books at her website.

Have a look at today's updated Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for more great authors and their books. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J.E. Bright -- Not Too Cool for Kids' E-Book Bestsellers!

Since March 31st, Alvin and the Chipmunks have been in the top ten in the Kids' section of the Barnes and Noble Nook store. The book, Chipwrecked: Too Cool For Rules is by J.E. Bright, and he's here today to tell us all about it. 

Let's start with a synopsis of the book. 

Based on the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Too Cool for Rules is a Level 2 I Can Read! book illustrated with film stills. When the Chipmunks and Chipettes get stranded on an island because of Alvin's misbehavior, Alvin must take on responsibility, including finding food, building a shelter, and keeping his friends safe from an erupting volcano.

Tell us about your path to publication: Traditional or independent?  

I wouldn't call my path to publication traditional, but it's been mainstream. While working for a company that developed young adult and middle-grade fiction in 1997, I was hired to write a couple of books based on a TV show. Since then, I've written dozens of original and licensed books, and Too Cool for Rules was my 59th book when it was released in October 2011 to coincide with the movie. I'm currently working on writing my 74th children's book.

Is your book available in print format? Which came first and why? 

Too Cool for Rules is available in print format, and after looking it up, I discovered that they were published about a month apart, with the e-version coming out in November 2011. I didn't know the book existed in an electronic form until I got your email, but I'm happy that it is. It's great to get as wide an audience as possible for Alvin and his adventures. I suppose that the publisher thought they could tap into the electronic market with this title, and it seems as though they were correct!

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing? Why or why not? 

I do think that e-books will eventually be more popular than traditional print books as the various e-reader platforms get greater saturation, but I also think that there will always be a place for print. As print becomes more of a niche market, the physical books will become collector's items and gift books, with a return to the emphasis on the beauty of the book as a object. Disposable children's books ("consumable" as they're called in the industry) like movie tie-ins, cheap paperbacks, and coloring & activity books will be mostly replaced by their electronic versions. 

What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now? 

The book is based on a movie that's very popular with kids the same age as the target audience for Level 2 I Can Read! books, and there is a strong educational component (learning readers can read this book themselves) that attracts parents and educators. There's less risk for a publisher to release an e-book that has a built-in audience familiar with the characters and the movie, but unfortunately there may be less longevity with licensed tie-in books, too -- at least for print versions, which have a "moment" around the release of the movie and then again when the DVD comes out. We'll all see if e-book tie-ins have a longer or shorter shelf life than the print editions. It might be longer, as there's no cost associated with keeping them on sale indefinitely. In physical bookstores, licensed tie-ins are sold quickly, and then just as quickly replaced by the books made for the next movie push, but these kinds of books may live longer in their e-versions.That may be the case here, since Too Cool for Rules made the Top 10 Nook bestsellers last week, while the sales of the print version have tapered off somewhat in the weeks following the movie release.

Learn more about J.E. Bright at his website and his Facebook fan page.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Hunger Games Companion: For Fans Hungry For More!

The Hunger Games Companion by Lois Gresh has been a Kids' E-Book Bestseller for several weeks, and it hit the #1 spot in the Children and Teen section of the iBookstore on March 24th. Today we get to hear all about it!

First, tell us about The Hunger Games Companion.

For all those who adore Katniss and Peeta, and can’t get enough, this companion guide to the wildly popular Hunger Games series is a must-read and a terrific gift.

Go deeper into the post-apocalyptic world created by Suzanne Collins than you ever thought possible—an alternative future where boy and girls are chosen from twelve districts to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death. This unauthorized guide takes the reader behind the stage.

THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION includes fascinating background info about all the action in all three books, including amazing insights into the series’ main themes and features—from the nature of evil to weaponry and from rebellions to surviving the end of the world. It’s everything fans have been hungering for since the very first book!

How did you first get published?

At age 9, I wrote a 55-page science fiction story; at 12, a 220-page “report” about ancient Egypt; at 16, a 250-page book about poverty; at 22, a 500-page novel; at 23, a 400-page novel; and during college classes, I wrote horror stories featuring my professors.

I sold my first short stories in 1993 to print magazines and anthologies and my first novel to Random House/Del Rey in 1996. Since then, I’ve published 27 books and more than 45 stories with traditional print publishers, most of whom also handle e-rights.

Recently, the Book View Cafe released the e-version of my Chaosium print title, ELDRITCH EVOLUTIONS, a collection of 26 dark science fiction and fantasy stories. ELDRITCH EVOLUTIONS was on the HWA Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot for Best Collection of 2011. If you like science fiction, you can read TWO FREE STORIES: CAFEBABE and Watch Me If You Can.

This was my first adventure in e-publishing.

The Book View Café will release TERROR BY NUMBERS: A Wall Street Thriller in June 2012. This will be my first true e-only title. For now, I’ve posted a tiny bit about it on my website.

The Book View Cafe, by the way, is a cooperative of professional authors helping each other create, promote, and sell their own e-books. We have some amazing luminaries in science fiction and fantasy such as Ursula K. LeGuin, Vonda McIntyre, Linda Nagata, Brenda Clough, Jay Caselberg, Judith Tarr, Sarah Zettel, and lots more. Many are New York Times Best Sellers, as well as Nebula and Hugo winners.

Is your book available in print format?

THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION is available in print at all Barnes & Nobles bookstores, as well as on Amazon and other online sites. It’s also available in e-format.

What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?

For THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION, my target audience is anyone who loves The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I read a lot of e-books as well as print books, so I think both formats work well.

Learn more about Lois Gresh and her books at her website, her blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

And have a look at this week's Kids' E-Book Bestseller List for more great authors and their books.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Giver: Newbery in 1994, Top Ten in E-Format in 2012

Today, multi-award winning author Lois Lowry joins us to talk about her book, The Giver, which was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1994. Last month the electronic version hit the top ten in both the Juvenile section of the Google store and the Children's and YA section of Amazon.

First, let's hear about The Giver.

A 12-year-old boy living in a future tightly-controlled society realizes the terrible compromises that have been made for the sake of safety and comfort, and attempts to change his world.

Is your book available in print format? How did your e-book come about?
THE GIVER has been available in print format since 1993 and in 27 translated languages as well. Eventually the publisher decided to make it available as an e-book and it has done well in that format without, apparently, compromising the traditional sales.

What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?
I am an enthusiastic user of a Kindle when I travel, as I frequently do. So e-books are not foreign or frightening to me. I view them as another adjunct to traditional publishing...a tool for readers...something that a younger generation will find comfortable.

Do you think e-publishing will eventually take over print publishing?

I think electronic publishing will increase and the technology will improve. But I doubt if traditional books will ever go away. There is room for co-existence.

For more on Lois and her many books, visit her website.