Book publishers are under ever-increasing pressure to adapt their portfolios to suit the evolving tastes and consumption habits of kids.
Egmont Publishing Group has unveiled its latest move to tackle the issue having struck a tie-up with Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment to provide a series of physical books based on the iconic digital brand.
David Riley, managing director of the publisher, spoke to new media age about the challenges and opportunities there are surrounding developing products that encourage and excite kids about reading.
He said that children are reading, they are just doing so by different means, and therefore the onus is on publishers to determine what those needs are.
One of Riley’s comments to particularly resonate was the fact that the image of traditional reading is not deemed “cool” by kids today, and that even those who do read will deny the fact to their friends.
Children’s book publishers may need to align themselves even more closely with what Riley referred to as “hot, iconic, digital” brands such as Angry Birds, popular with both adults and kids, to ensure they evolve in sync with the digital landscape and changing consumption habits.
His comments echo recent kids research conducted by digital agency Amaze, which revealed smartphones to be the most coveted digital possession among ten to 15 year olds.
The qualitative research project, which kicked off 18 months ago, follows the lives and habits of a group of 20 kids. The aim is to map their behaviours towards various digital technologies including the web and ecommerce, mobile devices, connected TVs and games consoles.
Only one of them claimed they read books, with the rest preferring to consume shorter, more “immediate” content and following the hyperlink structure of the web.
Amaze’s chief strategy officer Rick Curtis said the results have pretty huge social and cultural implications. “Some art forms seem to be really getting hammered by technology and others are flourishing. Reading a book seems completely foreign to them – why bother was their response, when you can just go on Facebook, download an app?” he said, adding that onus is on educational bodies to adapt to the changing expecations of kids to ensure they are properly prepared for the kinds of reading featured in school curriculums.