The popularity of summer reading programs: Why market children’s and young adult books this season
Summer reading programs offer a great opportunity for authors to market children’s books and young adult books.
Table of Contents
- Why Summer Reading Programs Matter
- How Authors Benefit from Promoting Their Work in the Summer
- Ways to Market Children’s Books and Young Adult Books
Why Summer Reading Programs Matter
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde
When summer finally arrives after a seemingly never-ending school year, most adolescents couldn’t be more thrilled.
Instead of spending their days cooped up in a classroom, they can get outside with their friends, play games, and just focus on having fun.
For parents and teachers, on the other hand, summer presents something of a challenge.
With required reading on hold until the following school year, a number of children and teenagers can go the entire break without so much as opening a book!
How can this issue be resolved?
How can parents and teachers urge students to read during the summer break?
How can reading be made a priority so that students retain the skills and knowledge they acquired the previous year?
One solution that has grown in popularity over the years is summer reading programs.
Current Google Trends report for the search term “summer reading program.”
Introduced in the 1890s as a way to encourage schoolchildren to read during their time off, summer reading programs have become an effective way to foster a love of books, prevent learning loss, and increase knowledge.
Given the importance of bringing up a new generation of readers, various organizations have developed their own programs to persuade young people to pick up a book during the summer months.
Most have a rewards system in place, so participants who reach their goals can win prizes.
Some examples include the following:
- Chuck E. Cheese offers a convenient, printable incentive chart that can be turned in for 10 free play points or tokens.
- H-E-B provides a printable reading log that can be mailed in for a special T-shirt.
- Showcase Cinemas offers one free admission to select movies on Wednesdays when children present a book report at participating locations.
- With Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program, students are rewarded with stickers and personal pizzas when they meet their set reading goals.
- Reading Rewards allows parents and teachers to set up their own rewards programs for young readers.
- Local libraries frequently sponsor summer reading programs for every age group, offering prizes such as bracelets, bookmarks, and gift certificates.
Children and teenagers are often eager to take part in these programs, as the prospect of receiving a free book, gift certificate, or other token is an exciting one.
And on their journey to earning a prize, they frequently find joy in the act of reading itself!
As a result, parents don’t have to force their children to read, and teachers can feel better knowing that their students are exercising their brains while on break.
But parents, teachers, and students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from summer reading programs — authors can too.
How Authors Benefit from Promoting Their Work in the Summer
The great thing about summer reading programs is that they provide children and teenagers with incentives to read. However, there are some drawbacks…
For example, not all reading programs include a list of book recommendations. And if recommendations are provided, not all guardians/educators will find them suitable.
This means that parents and teachers often spend quite a bit of time searching for fun yet appropriate titles that their students can read during break, giving authors the perfect opportunity to promote books specifically geared toward young readers.
So, what are the benefits of choosing summer to market children’s books and young adult books?
1. Age-appropriate reading material is in high demand this time of year.
As previously mentioned, parents and teachers are in desperate need of book recommendations so they can keep students reading during break.
After all, children and teens can’t participate in summer reading programs if they have nothing to read!
By promoting your own work this season, you can take advantage of the demand and put your title(s) in front of those who need it most.
2. Convenient reading options such as ebooks are greatly appreciated by buyers.
Many families travel for summer vacation, and parents are always looking for ways to entertain the kids during long flights and even longer car rides.
With ebooks, parents can ensure that their children have plenty of reading material without having to lug a heavy suitcase full of hardcovers.
So, if you’re an author who specializes in such titles, opting to market young adult books or children’s books that are available in digital format now can increase your downloads.
3. An author’s reader base can grow exponentially during the summer.
Once you get your work in the hands of readers, the chances of creating raving fans jumps significantly.
And when you market young adult books and children’s books in the summer (when interest is high), you have a lot more opportunity.
Just by opting to market children’s books and young adult books this season, you can introduce more readers to your work, which means they’ll likely continue reading everything you have available long after summer is over.
Ways to Market Children’s Books and Young Adult Books
Though there are plenty of parents and teachers out there who are looking for work just like yours, the trick is actually getting your book in front of them.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to market young adult books and children’s books during the summer (or any time of year, really).
Reach out to local schools and libraries, providing information about your book and even offering to do a reading.
Research parent blogs that frequently offer recommendations and provide site owners with a copy of your book.
Search for Facebook and community websites for children’s and young adult book groups, then recommend your work — perhaps even giving them a free copy to review.
Set up an email marketing campaign geared toward parents and teachers. If you don’t have your own list, you can sign up to promote your free ebook in our newsletter.
Given the popularity of summer reading programs, authors have a great opportunity to increase their sales and digital downloads just by choosing to market children’s books and young adult books this season.
So if your target audience consists of young readers, be sure to put your work out there now.