Small but beautiful” is our publishing motto, says editor-in-chief Ma Yuxiu of New Buds. “We have scaled down our annual output in recent years, opting instead to focus our resources on creating unique content.”
New Buds has just launched a 10-volume Discovering China in Museums illustrated series, which took four years to produce. Combining cultural, historical, and pop-science elements, the series walks young readers, as well as parents and teachers, through 600 collections from more than 150 museums. “This is now a part of the primary school reading list and is representative of the kind of new content that we are bringing to the market,” Ma says.
Translations remain important at the 39-year-old house, with bestsellers that include Kane Press’s Math Matters series and Kate DiCamillo titles, such as The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux, and Because of Winn-Dixie. Then there is the 100-volume series featuring international award-winning children’s literature titles, launched in 2002, that has exceeded CNY 500 million in sales. “For originals, we are the home of bestselling author Wang Yimei, for whose novels, short stories, and branding we maintain a dedicated production studio,” Ma says, pointing out that her staff of 120 works on about 100 titles, of which 70% are reprints.
Cross-promotion is a major sales strategy at New Buds, and its success, adds Ma, “lies in identifying the right partner for the right product.” The team has collaborated with Ofo, a bicycle-sharing company, to offer e-coupons (with the purchase of a monthly cycling card) for special discounts on New Buds titles. For Pizza Hut’s “Love Sharing, Love Reading” campaign, the team created a birthday gift edition of its bestselling three-volume Magic Coloring series (translated from French publisher Editions Animées).
But sometimes, phenomenal sales have been coincidental. In 2014, DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which appeared in a popular Korean drama that was aired on Chinese television, shot up the bestseller chart to the #1 slot. “We leveraged the opportunity to popularize this title and others from DiCamillo on various distribution channels to create top-of-mind awareness and long-term sales,” explains Ma, whose team just released DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale.