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.