Simon & Schuster targets tween readers

Notes from the mediascape: The children's publisher has partnered with a newly-launched social network called Everloop to reach young readers.

Publishing giant Simon & Shuster has partnered with several new family-friendly social networking sites that cater to kids too young for Facebook.

On Tuesday, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing announced a partnership with Everloop, a new social media platform for kids aged eight to 13, to launch an interactive book club called ‘In The Book Loop.’ Aside from the usual social media features such as instant messaging chat, email and VoIP, the site has a number of Children’s Online Privacy Protection-compliant security measures and parental oversight tools, such as notifications to parents each time a kid makes a new connection.

‘We were looking for a place where we could plug in our content that was already safe for kids and being monitored,’ Lucille Rettino, director of marketing for Simon & Schuster’s children’s publishing division, told MiC.

As part of the exclusive partnership, In the Book Loop will give kids access to two middle-school books each month via an e-reader, beginning with instalments from New York Times bestselling series Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell and SPHDZ Book #1! by Jon Scieszka, until the end of the year. Later, Simon & Schuster will use the platform to build buzz for up-and-coming authors and series.

Rettino found out about Everloop six months ago when she was researching potential social media partners. She says around 75% of the publisher’s children’s marketing budget is spent on online media because that’s where its tween readers are increasingly spending their time.

The publisher has also created its own social community for teens between 14 and 18 called Pulse It, which has 30,000 members.

Though Rettino says it’s too early to project the size of Everloop’s membership, the company has forged a partnership with digital literacy publisher to make the service available in 56,000 schools.

For its part, the publisher will promote In the Book Loop through its social media channels, at literacy events and through its educator and librarian outreach program, Simon & Schuster Education and Library, and will likely begin an advertising campaign at the beginning of summer.

‘Tweens now are making decisions,’ she says. ‘It’s not just parents buying books, they are saying to their parents, ‘I want this book.’ We want to  be where they are so we can let them know what’s out there.’