Book publishers focus efforts on Latino kids

Book clubs are an essential part of most publishers’ marketing strategies, and children’s books are no exception. As more book publishers focus their efforts on reaching out to the Hispanic market, a growing number of direct marketing campaigns may follow.

Scholastic en Español, which publishes 100 Spanish-language and bilingual children’s books each year, sells most of its books through school book clubs “Club Leo” and “Scholastic Book Fairs.” Scholastic also direct mails to a database of 710,000 Hispanic households through its “Scholastic-At- Home” book club. Last year, Jorge Londoño was hired as the Senior Manager of Niche Marketing at Scholastic, a new division dedicated to marketing Scholastic’s Spanish-language and bilingual children’s books.

HarperCollins is also expanding its children’s Spanish-language publishing program (Rayo) and hired Adriana Dominguez, former children’s review editor at Criticas, as executive editor. HC publishes five Spanish-language children’s books annually, but plans to increase that number to between 20 and 25 in 2006. According to Cristina Gilbert marketing director for HC’s children’s books division, Rayo will focus on advertising at community events and festivals, as well as marketing to libraries and public schools.

Last fall, Random House imprint Alfred A. Knopf came out with Pat Mora’s “Doña Flor” and Julia Alvarez’s “A Gift of Gracias” (both bilingual). Media tieins are crucial to promotion of Hispanic  hildren’s book.

HC’s Spanish-language imprint Rayo launched Gloria Estefan’s children’s picture book, “The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog” last fall.

Scholastic’s Maya and Miguel books, about a pair of 10- year-old twins who star in their own PBS cartoon series, were launched in April.

Direct marketing to institutions

The public library system and public schools are major markets for Hispanic children’s books. In the general market over one-tenth of publishers’ net book sales are to libraries. According to Book Industry Trends 2005, which examines acquisitions expenditures of public, school, college & university and special libraries, in 2004 nearly $1.6 billion were spent on book purchases alone. In an effort to capture this market, publishers send out catalogues, advance copies, and educational materials targeting librarians, teachers and administrators.


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