Penguin targets growth in children's

Penguin targets growth in children's

Penguin is "significantly" increasing its investment in its children's division, with a focus on pre-school, big brands and the global market, as well as on digital innovation, according to UK c.e.o. Tom Weldon.

At a media breakfast held at Penguin's Strand office this morning (15th September), Weldon said: "Books are not dying, but adapting and innovating. Media is no longer about format, but content, and consumers want brands and experience . . . We are increasing significantly our investment in the childrens area because parents don't stop spending on kids in a recession."

Penguin Children's m.d. Francesca Dow said: "We have to be resourceful and creative, we are being forced to be so by our young audiences. The challenge is to give them the best stories in engaging ways."

The publisher is looking to develop its own IP, and has launched an in-house initiative, Genesis, aimed at developing new projects wholly owned by Penguin. The first of these, Three Little Words, will be a young adult series about a group of school friends, comprising print books published by Razorbill, e-books and "episodic, web-based" activity yet to be announced.

A series of children's apps were announced, including a new educational app from Ladybird, First Words: Toddler Touch and Say, to follow on from the Baby Touch app, and published today. The publisher is also developing a Moshi Monsters game app, loosely based on previous title Buster's Lost Moshlings, which will be released this December.

A Peter Rabbit app, featuring audio and games, will be published in November. The app comes ahead of major activity surrounding Peter Rabbit to mark its 110th anniversary next year. Actor Emma Thompson will write a new story for Beatrix Potter publisher Frederick Warne, The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit, for publication in September 2012. A Peter Rabbit animation is also in progress in partnership with Nickelodeon.

Penguin is also capitalising on consumers' desire for high-quality printed books with the launch of a new literary hardback list, Puffin Press, set to produce a limited number of "desirable physical editions" of classic children's books, such as Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes. "The list will emphasise stunning presentation with a deeply imaginative approach to design," the publisher said.

Weldon said Penguin will open a media suite at their Strand offices just ahead of Christmas, with broadcast, audio and video facilities, for use in creating enhanced e-books, marketing videos and other materials.