News for Authors

Cracking the Asian Markets: Sales and Promotional Opportunities for Children’s Books

by Christine Swedowsky|May, 2017

The market for English-language children’s books in Asia is large and growing, with China, the Philippines, and South Korea at the front of the pack. In 2016, these three countries collectively accounted for well above half of all revenue in our Asian markets. In China alone, children’s book sales have increased by 100 percent yearly from 2014 to 2016.


How do we connect with audiences abroad?

In a recent Author News article, we covered some of the many ways we connect with audiences abroad. Tours are a key component of international outreach, whether they are blog tours or global author tours. But what works best for most regions is tailoring our products to fit the regional market, and creating area-specific marketing and publicity campaigns around selected titles.

Read on to learn how we tailor campaigns and products in each of our top three Asian markets.


South Korea: digital learning supplements and audio packages

For many decades, speaking English in Korea has been considered a critical skill. English is a required subject for Korean students through most of their education, from elementary school through university. Though grammar studies are important, Korea has recently begun to emphasize verbal and conversational skills. This presents a particular challenge for Korean parents without a strong grasp of English.

One product that helps manage this challenge is SayPen, a popular new audio reading device developed in South Korea, similar to American brands such as LeapReader or AnyBook. When reading, the child scans the text of a specially made book with the pen to activate a recording of the text within the pen, which “reads” the text aloud to the child.

At Penguin Random House, we facilitated the creation of proprietary SayPen editions of Eric Carle’s Today Is Monday, The Very Busy Spider, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. With partnerships like this, we are able to extend the reach of our books in challenging markets while fitting those markets’ needs.

Another popular tool for children of non-English-speaking parents is audiobooks packaged alongside physical books. Our Korean Nate the Great box sets include twenty-eight books and an accompanying CD set. And our education-oriented Step Into Reading website features more than three hundred titles available to Korean audiences, many of which include workbooks and CD sets.


China: targeted social media 

One of the best examples of tailoring outreach to regional markets can be found in China. While most of the West relies on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and a few others to help promote their titles and build buzz around books, China’s social media landscape is vastly different.

In China, the social platforms WeChat and Weibo offer opportunities for both promotion and sales of children’s books. As of August 2016, there were more than 700 million WeChat users, and around a third of these users routinely make purchases through the app. Unlike many Western social media platforms, Weibo also allows its 340 million monthly users—of whom 90 percent are below the age of thirty-three—to make direct e-commerce purchases, which gives us the opportunity to promote and sell titles on the same platform.

We work directly with reps in China to promote children’s titles and popular box sets, which helps us reach new buyers in the largest Asian market.


Philippines: connecting with an active blogging community

The Filipino market is an exciting one for our young adult groups: it’s an export market with a 100-percent English-speaking population and an enormous enthusiasm for YA titles. The Filipino blogger community is vast, vocal, and influential—and they love our books!

This enthusiasm goes beyond blogs and into bookstores as well. In the Philippines, the National Book Store Facebook account has more than 1 million subscribers and broad global engagement. This page connects YA readers with authors and publishers through contests, cover reveals, and book previews.

We also communicate with the Filipino YA community through physical author tours, and in some cases, we develop special YA export or customized editions of English-language titles.


Working with such diverse markets offers us spectacular opportunities to fit each market’s needs while expanding our reach. From picture books to YA, as Asian markets grow and technologies advance, we will continue to adapt and pursue our goal of getting our books into the hands of young international readers.


Christine Swedowsky is International Marketing Director for Penguin Random House.

Retail and Book-Buying Insights from the 2016 Holiday Season

by Andrea Bachofen|February, 2017

The end of 2016 provided valuable insights into trends we saw throughout the year, and a glimpse at what we might expect this year. Read on to learn about what happened across retail channels and in the book industry specifically, and what’s in store for 2017. Read more

International Marketing and Publicity: Promoting Your Books Worldwide

by Christine Swedowsky|February, 2017

With more than seven hundred million English speakers living outside of North America, marketing our books globally is more important than ever. Read more

Five Unexpected Places We Sell Your Books

by Pam Roman|October, 2016

The Special Markets sales team at Penguin Random House focuses on getting your books into markets outside of the traditional book trade. If you like to shop, you’re no doubt familiar with some of our top specialty retailers, such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Paper Source, Papyrus, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and more. Read on to learn about five key places where we sell your books. Read more

Small World: What’s New in International Sales

by Sophie McNeill|November, 2014

The international sales team sells Penguin Random House books in over 240 countries worldwide. We caught up with international sales executive Chris Dufault to talk about why there is such high overseas demand for American editions of books, the global growth of U.S. popular culture, and what authors can do to help their own international sales.

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How Selling Online is Shaping Cover Design

by Emily Condlin|October, 2014

A great book cover should be striking, memorable, profound, and, most of all, eye-catching. It should pull a reader across a bookstore with a flash of color or a slick effect. But today, designers must think beyond the physical bookstore and consider the digital one as well.

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Building Support for Breakout Books

by Milena Schmidt and Katherine Fleming|March, 2013

Every year, Random House, Inc.’s imprints publish hundreds of new titles by authors who don’t yet have an established fan base or sales history. Every book is acquired with the expectation of bringing it to the widest audience.

While there is not a single recipe for doing this, we keep analyzing and learning from what has worked before, and finding new ways to apply the success factors to other books. Read more

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Was it a Digital 2012?

by Jeff Weber|February, 2013

The online book market moves so fast that we frequently have to take a step back and reevaluate. In that spirit, I recently reflected on four key trends that we saw in both the eBook and physical book sales numbers for our online accounts last year.

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Spotlight: Managing Store Inventory

by Sophie McNeill|October, 2012

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) is a hot topic in business circles and a capability that Random House has been developing for some time. To get at the meaning behind the management-speak, we sat down with Nihar Malaviya, our SVP, director of  strategy, analytics & program development, and Alyssa Oles, manager of supply chain projects and business analytics.

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The Front Lines: Random House Field Sales

July, 2012

Random House’s sales team, the largest in the industry, does a lot more than take book orders in retailers’ back offices. Our reps, who have always been passionate advocates for our books and valued sources for book recommendations, have now expanded their role to reach a much broader circle of book lovers. Of course, they still work with booksellers, but they also present our books to librarians and specialty retailers, organize events for readers in their communities, and actively build buzz through blogs and social networks. They are local marketers par excellence, and their combined efforts have become essential in raising awareness of titles in their communities and beyond.