Fledgling publishing company, Cover2Cover, have come up with a novel way of funding the publishing of their books, aimed at the teenage mass market. They are selling branding and advertising rights on the back cover, and including product placement opportunities in the books themselves.
Managing director Mignon Hardie explains. “Books are traditionally expensive; as such there has been low demand for them, specifically from groups with little disposable income. As a result Cover2Cover plans to partner with organisations keen to access these markets. Cover2Cover’s books will carry paid-for product placements and have space on the cover of the books for advertisements. In addition, companies wishing to align their marketing and CSI strategies can also partially or fully sponsor books, which would enable them to get their company logo onto the inside cover of the book.”
This strategy is coupled with a strong drive on mobile networks, the medium most used by the youthful market. Cover2Cover is using a mobile channel to “sustain and create new demand for books”. Hardie says it is important to “leverage those channels already popular in the market. Mobile technology is the most widely used and fastest-growing channel, which is already supporting and increasing reading activity. It has proven itself as an effective means of disseminating information and interacting with this market”.
That is why Cover2Cover’s non-profit shareholder – the FunDza Literacy Trust – is building a community of readers, using mobile technology. FunDza will make use of existing popular social media channels (such as Facebook, MXit, MYMsta and Twitter) to grow and interact with its membership base. In addition, it leverages low-user cost technologies such as “please-call-me” and USSD to hold regular competitions that would incentivise membership. The FunDza platform provides a space for members to:
- Share ideas and give feedback on “FunDza”-related books and content
- Discuss issues raised in the “FunDza” conent
- Find out about new books
- Enter competitions
- Access other mobi-content
FunDza Literacy Trust recently donated 10 copies of Cover2Cover’s first book, Broken Promises by Ros Haden, to the Masiphumelele Library near Kommetjie in Cape Town.
Speaking on behalf of the FunDza Literacy Trust, Lebogang Rangaka emphasised to the many young people attending the importance of books and reading. She noted that the Masiphumelele youth were lucky to have a well-resourced library as a central part of their community, which provided them with a safe space in which to spend time, learn more and relax. She urged them to make use of the library and learn as much as possible about the world and to take responsibility for their own education – to question as much as possible and to become critical thinkers.
The book-related advertising and branding opportunities are:
Product placement in the books
Companies can negotiate with Cover2Cover to get their product or brand included as part of the narrative in its books. Participants in the product placement programme would also receive space for a logo on the inside of the back cover under the header “Thanks goes to our product placement sponsors” and they would be listed on the Cover2Cover site as product placement partner.
Advertising on the outside back cover of the books
Companies can buy advertising space on the outside back covers of Cover2Cover’s books. The space is prominent and would be seen when the book is being held and read. Companies would also be listed on the Cover2Cover site as a brand advertising partner.
Sponsorship of books for donation to libraries and schools
Sponsors receive acknowledgement on the inside front cover the book. Books would be distributed to schools and libraries in underprivileged areas identified by Cover2Cover, or those specified by the corporate sponsor. A listing on the Cover2Cover site as a valued book sponsor.
Companies can provide or suggest non-fiction material that satisfies its CSI objectives to be included as an insert in Cover2Cover’s books. The company’s name would be advertised with the featured additional content. Companies could also sponsor content to be provided via the FunDza mobi network to increase brand awareness and further disseminate its message or educational brief. A listing on the Cover2Cover and/or FunDza site as a corporate content partner.
Retailers could stock Cover2Cover books to sell in special displays at tillpoints in their shops. Retailers would be advertised on the Cover2Cover site.
FunDza mobi partners
Companies can partner with FunDza to enable the use of its mobi network. Opportunities include: sponsoring of auto-response and bulk SMSes to its members; sponsoring content (see content partners above); sponsoring the costs of a particular channel(s). Branding opportunities include naming rights for large sponsors of specific channels and inclusion of the brand through the channel and on the FunDza site.
Cover2Cover is producing a new series of books – the Harmony High series – that centres on the lives of a group of teens who attend Harmony High, a fictional township high school. The books reflect the real-life issues that many teens face on a daily basis, such as absent parents, relationship choices, HIV/Aids, substance abuse, crime, financial stress and aspirations for a better life.
To find out how to get involved, contact Mignon Hardie on:
Cell: 083 776 8753
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