With the third season of the Gossip Girl TV series not starting until September, and with teens ever in need of summer beach reading, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ Poppy imprint is promoting its flagship Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar (more than 5.5 million copies have been sold in the U.S.) with new slipcover jackets for all 12 titles, as well an iPhone book app.
The new jackets feature members of the cast in stills taken from the TV show (additionally, the jackets, which are printed on both sides, unfold to reveal larger photographic “posters” on the reverse). “The cast is everywhere,” says Andrew Smith, v-p and deputy publisher at LBYR. “They’re all over doing magazine covers and fashion spreads, Chace Crawford was named [Hottest] Bachelor in People magazine. They’re such a part of pop culture now we thought it would be great to have them featured on the entire backlist.”
While plenty of fans of the book series have flocked to the show, Smith says that LBYR is hoping that the jackets—planned as a summer-only limited edition—will attract show devotees who might not have read all the books. The newly jacketed editions became available last month, timed to coincide with an on-air promotion for the books that aired during the May 13 episode of Gossip Girl.
LBYR is promoting its
iPhone apps with online ads.
On the book app front, the Gossip Girl app marks LBYR’s first move into that type of marketing. The Gossip Girl Exclusive Free Preview is available in the iTunes store for free, and it contains an excerpt from the first book in the series, as well as previews of the first books in other Poppy series, including The Clique, It Girl and The A-List. (Free preview apps are also available for those series, which, like the Gossip Girl app, cross-promote the other series.) Readers have the option of purchasing the first books in each series for a summer-only promotional price of $2.99.
When lined up, the spines of the 12 slipcovered editions show an image of Serena from the series.
The apps went live earlier this month and, according to Smith, the Gossip Girl and Clique apps have already cracked the top 100 in the free book app section of the iTunes store, with the Gossip Girl app having reached the top 40. The apps were already in development, Smith says, when an April announcement from Apple only confirmed the feeling in-house that this was an important area of focus. “We were floored when Apple released the figure that there were more than one billion downloads of apps in nine months,” says Smith. “That’s a huge number. We know that teens are a huge part of that activity and we’re always looking to be where teens are.”
LBYR has been promoting its apps in online banner ads as well as on the Poppy Web site. This fall, all 12 repackaged Gossip Girl books will be available in a boxed edition, as will something certain to excite fans: the 13th book, I Will Always Love You, arriving as a one-day laydown on November 3 with a 150,000-copy first printing, in which the original cast returns from college for some holiday drama.