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Personalized books selling like hot cakes

Egmont's British publisher offers readers the opportunity to order personally tailored books where their names are used in the story. On the publisher's website you can order the books and be written into Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine. Sales of these books now represent more than half the sales on Egmont's British website.

  • Foto: Per Morten Abrahamsen

    Foto: Per Morten Abrahamsen

Brand Manager Jenny Martin explains the background of the project:" The idea originated from a similar project which our Mr. Men licensee, Chorion, already had with Noddy (Harper Collins). Inspired by that, we wanted to find a similar solution with Mr. Men.

The first considerations were to find the right printing house for the project and to examine the product thoroughly.

"We looked around to find the format, theme, type of personalization and the best license," says Jenny Martin. "We also looked at what books our competition was selling, their pricing and what else was happening in the market. The original idea proved to be quite a challenge. Binding was a big problem – the printers bought a binding machine especially for the project", Jenny informs us.

New projects demands change

Changes were also made to the egmont.co.uk website. "The web page was not set up for this type of product, so we had to start right from the beginning. It took 2 to 3 months to put an online system in place," Jo de Lange, head of Egmont UK's Digital Team explains. "It was not just a case of expanding our web site; we also had to ensure that the system could "talk to" our printers."

In addition we used a new approach to marketing. Jo goes on:"Prior to the launch we used advanced online promotion to build up expectations, which we then followed up with e-mail campaigns during the first week of the launch."

"This marketing strategy was a completely different model for us. We can monitor how customers are buying and monitor the direct result in terms of sales," explains Martyn Luke, head of Marketing & Brands. Considered overall, personalized books have been a success.

From zero to 65% of sales

"Personalized books are a success in that they represent 65-70% of the sales via egmont.co.uk and the figure is probably higher when we consider the time of the year," says Jo. "Customers can find products on egmont.co.uk, that they do not see anywhere else. However, initial expectations were too high – we expected more, since we had nothing to compare to."

"We are now meeting the revised expectations and are much more satisfied with our sales figures. It has been a worthwhile experience," says Jenny.