Lynn joins us today to tell us the story of Bob Books and their e-format success.
First, tell us about Bob Books.
Bob Books are for kids who are just starting to learn to read. Each Set (or edition) contains ten to twelve little books, each a complete story, 12-24 pages long. With simple sentences, and words that can be sounded out, they are designed so your child will have early success and a sense of mastery. Our tag line was coined by an excited young reader who exclaimed with pride, “I read the whole book!”®
Tell us briefly about your path to publication: Traditional or independent? Recently or further in the past?
There are now eleven sets of Bob Books. The first three sets were self-published by Bobby and John Maslen almost 40 years ago. After teaching school for 13 years, Bobby had strong ideas about how to help very young children (3-6 years old) begin reading. She wrote Bob Books based on her teaching experience, and eventually moved from teaching to being a full time book publisher. When their success become overwhelming, the Maslens partnered with highly respected Scholastic Inc., who remains their publisher to this day.
Bobby’s daughter Lynn has taken over the family tradition and written the next six sets of Bob Books. She carries on the Bob Books promise of writing stories that are fun and funny, and build early success for beginning readers.
What top factors do you believe put your e-book where it is now?
Bob Books have been beloved by teachers, librarians, and parents of beginning readers for 40 years. We are happy to offer a beautiful digital edition of our books so that they are available in your favorite media, whether digital or print.
How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.
A lot of our marketing is based on word of mouth. We appreciate and love Parenting Bloggers. We know a strong community exists in the mom and dad blog space – even though some have never met each other, they are trusted and close friends! We are very active on social media and listen to what others are saying via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We often research blog posts and bloggers that write about us to see their feedback. We also participate on Pinterest and carefully curate learning to read activities from amazing bloggers. We see social media as a great platform to listen and share, both our products and content from bloggers and news sources that we love.
Some studies say children reading e-books are reading more, while other studies say they comprehend less of what they read. What’s your opinion or experience?
Kids love digital media because it's interesting and new. We have combined the digital media platform with our Bob Books content to make learning to read easy and fun. It's a win-win of fun and content.
What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience and serves their needs?
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What does your writing schedule look like? What are you working on now?
We have a new set of books – First Stories – coming out next year. I’m writing, and studying my three-letter-word lists. Its a little like putting together a word puzzle. My two goals are to use vocabulary that is easy for the very beginning reader, and to write a story that is fun to read. I write in all one syllable words, and most of them can be sounded out. How many ways can I make a story out of rat, cat, sat, mat and fat? (Once, the fat cat had kittens.)
Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts your readers, specifically children and/or young adults? How?
This question deserves a much longer answer than I can give here. The plus side of digital for kids is the interactivity. With devices that respond, kids get instant feedback, and they are drawn into the experience and stay engaged. It is SO important that the program be high quality, and that the interactivity is educational or promotes growth or self awareness is some way. Bob Books' two apps help kids sound out and and spell words, so they’re learning while playing a game.
The minus is that getting out and doing something is so important for kids to learn who they are and how they fit in the world. Playing teaches kids problem solving, social skills, persistence, creativity. These can be lost in the structured digital environment where there are a limited number of right answers.
Learn more about Bob Books at the website or by following them on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Pinterest.
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