HarperCollins continues its support for subscription e-book services in a deal with Epic!, a children’s subscription service, adding 1,000 backlist kids’ e-book titles to the company's library. Epic! offers access to a library of more than 4,000 kids' e-books for $9.99 a month.
HarperCollins joins S&S, which had previously distributed its kids’ e-books via Epic! Launched by a group of game developers looking to use their skills on book properties, Epic! offers access to kids books for ages 5-12. The venture focuses on reading skills and its e-books do not offer audio, animation and interactive effects usually associated with kids digital publishing. Epic! focuses on offering a curated library of books along with a book recommendation engine, badges, gaming-like rewards, offline reading and time-spent reading data for parents.
Epic! cofounder Kevin Donahue said the HarperCollins e-books are “recent backlist” and will increase the size of the Epic! library to more than 4,000 titles. Payments to publishers, he said, are “based on usage," though he declined to provide more specifics. Donahue also noted that Epic! will be on hand at next week’s BEA and the venture will be participating in a panel on e-book subscription services at the IPDF conference at the Javits Center.
Suren Markosian, Epic! CEO and cofounder, told PW that the site’s recommendations and multiple profile feature were driving traffic on the site. “We’re seeing high engagement and repetitive usage. The relevancy of the titles encourages kids to come back and our rewards also entice them.”
Epic! also allows families to have multiple profiles (each family can have four profiles) on each account, so kids have a “private” account that parents can oversee. Markosian said the feature was popular with the young clientele, saying, “You don’t want your kid brother or sister messing around with your badges and books.”
HarperCollins’ chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi cited the service’s recommendation engine. “We know that children tend to read more if they can choose their own books. We’re proud to offer our titles on Epic! which provides an innovative mobile reading experience for kids and fosters a love of reading in a whole new way.”