Publishing for kids: how to reach book buyers online [event round-up and photos]

Guest Speakers from different areas of the publishing industry came together to discuss how to make a success of publishing for kids in an online world. Here Abigail Hyland rounds up the key things we learned from the speakers.

pub kids

Steve Bohme, Nielsen Book Research: recognising overlooked marketing strategies

Nielsen measure the engagement children and young adults have with social media, by way of consumer surveys, to find new ways of targeting a market that is increasingly online.

Quick glance stats:

Who’s online? 0-17yr olds   

– 50% of this age group access YouTube

– 26% of this age group access Facebook

– 23% of this age group access Amazon

Where are books being bought?

-33% online

-67% offline

Where are books being discovered?

-17% online

– 83% offline


From these statistics it’s obvious that publishers of children’s books are missing out on a potentially huge referral market. But instead of a missed opportunity, Nielsen are using this research as encouragement to tap into new ways of marketing children’s literature on online platforms.

Sven Huber, Boolino: using the internet as an instantly available meeting place of reader and text

If bookstores are the psychical bridge between authors and readers, how does the internet form a bridge between author and reader to the same effect?

From this question, a business opportunity arose and there ‘Boolino’ was born; a site that aims to connect the reader to a text through online interactive material that’s supplementary to the book.

This ‘added’ content, such as video book reviews, allow a parent to make an informed decision about which books they will buy their child. And, when that book has been bought, further material is available to aid the reading experience in the form of online tests and games. This caught the attention of the publishers of these texts, as they came to recognise the use of this added value. This then formed strong communications between the Boolino and publishers’ websites, leading to a healthy referral system between each site.


Claire Morrison, DK Books: putting what parents want online

DK’s research into what parents want for their child suggests a wish list of age-appropriate content, educational value, engagement with the text, and an expert view on what kids should be reading. This is encapsulated by the advantageous branding DK have which attributes these traits to their publications purely through the trust in the brand. DK are “engaging but trustworthy”, Claire Morrison describes.

Putting this into practice, DK have recently launched the online platform DKfindout!, ‘A safe place online to see, learn and explore almost everything’.

This platform provides:

  • A secure site for a child to search and explore
  • Homework resources
  • Top tips to help parents support their child’s learning and education.


Charlotte Hoare, Hachette Children’s Group: identifying problems one must consider when marketing to children online

Charlotte noted how the children’s books sector is the hardest to target, in terms of marketing, due to the dual approach you have to take when communicating to both the parent and child, buyer and user. But the biggest challenge comes in the form of ‘Verified Consent’: You can easily approach an adult via marketing, but to reach a child is a lot trickier. COPA, an American initiative, states you are not allowed to hold any identifiable data about anyone under the age of 11. So, if you want to sign a child up to a campaign/newsletter/competition, you can only do so with consent from the parent.

Bringing together data (Nielsen) and business opportunity (Boolino & DK), whilst acknowledging the difficulties with children’s book marketing (Hachette), we are provided with a rounded view of how to market books to children and their parents in the current online publishing climate.

For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook page.


Abigail HylandAbigail Hyland is an Editorial Assistant at SAGE Publications and music reviewer for the Brighton based magazine, ‘The Latest‘.