HarperCollins has launched a digital hub for young adult fiction readers that connects them to new romance and paranormal fiction novels. HarperTeen's Epic Reads could also help the publisher reach friends of those readers through Facebook and Google.
The Epicreads.com hub includes content from all HarperTeen books such as the Pretty Little Liars series, as well as authors like Louise Rennison. Sub-site Pitchdark.com caters to readers of dystopian and paranormal fiction titles like ShadowCry; and Storycrush.com focuses on romance, realistic and contemporary fiction books such as Tiger Lily.
"Since certain genres tend to come in and out of popularity quite quickly in the young adult world, it didn't make sense to break off the channels even further - for example a channel that's only for dystopian and a channel only for historical romance," said Diane Naughton, VP of integrated marketing for HarperCollins Children's Books. "But that being said, our platform is set up in a way that we can easily create as many new channels as we want, so we'll always keep an ear to the ground."
All three sites include author profiles, book and series pages and a daily lifestyle blog. Users can upload art, photos and videos, create lists, enter sweepstakes, take polls and quizzes, browse new and future releases and chat in the forums. Users can also read more about featured books and click to buy them on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other sites.
The Story Crush blog compiles reviews from young adult-aimed book blogs and features favorite quotes from recent titles. The top quote from Sarah Mlynowski's "Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)": "They write songs about California girls for a reason."
Since its launch on June 15, Epic Reads has garnered 1,200 registered members. Perhaps most important, teen readers can sign in via Facebook or Google and share poll results, and other content with friends.
Authors can also join in. Rennison, Suzanne Young, Jodi Lynn Anderson and other young adult genre authors can add enhancements to their pages, including a blog feed, social media links, photos and news. None of those three popular writers has done so yet, however. Authors can also connect directly with readers by contributing to the blog and participating in chats.
Epic Reads was developed by web design firm Blue Fountain Media. According to Naughton, content was in development for three months prior to launch.
Later this year, Harper Collins plans integration of Facebook OpenGraph and Goodreads APIs, in addition to enhanced mobile features and a social reading app. The publisher plans to launch a summer reading ad campaign in the coming weeks.
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