Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, has announced that it will publish e-book and print editions of The Kissing Booth, a debut book by Beth Reekles, a 17-year-old from Wales. The novel, which centers on a never-been-kissed teenager who comes face-to-face with her secret crush while running a kissing booth for her school carnival, first appeared to high acclaim on Wattpad, the self-publishing Web site. Random House Children’s Publishing UK published the novel as an e-book in December 2012, and it quickly rose to the top of bestseller charts. On April 9, Delacorte will release an e-book edition of The Kissing Booth, and will bring out the first print version of the novel, a trade paperback released under the Ember imprint, on May 14. The book will also be available for audio download from Listening Library on that date.
Teen readers’ reception to Random UK’s e-book edition of the novel, which was acquired by senior editor Lauren Buckland, was extremely enthusiastic from the start. “In just one week of publication, the e-book topped the Children's/YA iBooks chart, peaked at number four in the overall iBooks chart, and sold 1,000 copies,” said Bronwen Bennie, rights director of RHCP UK. Bennie adds that sales currently total almost 12,000 copies, and that the publisher has also sold rights to The Kissing Booth in four foreign-language markets: Spain, Greece, Hungary, and Turkey. “There are a total of 65 publishers now considering the book, and we are expecting further offers in the coming weeks,” she said.
Beverly Horowitz, Delacorte v-p and publisher, acquired U.S. rights to The Kissing Booth in a three-book deal from Bennie. The deal includes Reekles’s still-untitled sequel to The Kissing Booth as well as an additional novel. “We are thrilled to be working with Beth, a talented writer at the beginning of what promises to be an exciting career,” said Horowitz. “As a teenager writing for teenagers, her voice is genuine and relatable, and we know that she will gain many new fans here in the U.S.”
The author, who is currently studying for her A level exams, began writing fiction at the age of 14 on an old laptop her father had given her to use while doing her homework. Her peers clearly connected to her fiction when it appeared on Wattpad: with more than 19 million reads and 40,000 comments to date, The Kissing Booth has garnered more views and most comments than any other fiction title ever posted on the site. Last year, the novel won Wattpad’s annual Most Popular Teen Fiction Watty Award, voted on by readers.
“I’ve been hoping that The Kissing Booth would be published in the States because I know so many of my Wattpad fans are there, so to have it actually happening is incredibly exciting,” said Reekles in a statement. “This all started with Random House here in the U.K. in December of last year, and the whole experience has been absolutely amazing. I still can’t believe it.”