Children's stories for every age and era
WORD FOR WORD:We are in a golden age of children’s publishing. Enduring modern classics, such as the Harry Potter series, and the newer bestsellers Twilight, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Hunger Games, are now household names.
Just last week Penguin announced the acquisition of Snowman Enterprises. As a result, Penguin now controls key publishing, film, TV, digital and merchandise rights to the Snowman, Raymond Briggs’s iconic character and brand, adding to a growing portfolio of intellectual-property ownership in children’s entertainment.
Some might ask why a book publisher is spreading its wings away from traditional books. But we know that when children love something, they want to consume everything to do with that brand. Penguin’s strategy of increased investment in intellectual property rights reflects an ambition to become a new type of publisher, creating original content and products, with storytelling at their heart, across all platforms.
Just a couple of months ago Penguin did a deal with the Derry company Dog Ears, and the Kilkenny company Cartoon Saloon, to develop the character Puffin Rock. We hope to soon announce a TV series that will be shown internationally. The experience we’ve gained working with the companies that created Moshi Monsters and Peppa Pig, for example, has told us that our ambitious aims for Puffin Rock are eminently achievable.
Our strategy as a children’s publisher has changed in lots of ways but also hardly at all. We are still looking for the world’s best and most exciting storytellers, but the digital revolution has allowed those voices to come from a wider variety of places and reach children through all sorts of channels.
Most importantly, we want to reach children where they are and with what they need, be it their first words with Ladybird, the first Puffin book they read for themselves or the Penguin book they read as a teenager that changes their lives.
We’re now having conversations about books, ebooks, apps, TV and other formats, and the authors and talent we commission come from both our more traditional routes as well as sister storytelling worlds, such as gaming or animation. Just this autumn we signed a deal with Digit Gaming in Dublin to publish a book to coincide with the launch of its multiplatform game Kings of the Realm. This enables the players to have a more immersive 360-degree experience, and in some cases they may find themselves appearing in the books themselves – an empowering experience for a child.
We are constantly searching for wonderful writers and storytellers; whatever way the market changes or the technology develops, the story remains king. Technology is just technology until it’s brought to life through a wonderful idea.
It’s an exciting, innovative time to be a children’s publisher. At Penguin we’re curating a world of amazing stories for today’s young readers. Literally, a story for every age and every stage.