Creating a unique brand for its children’s division back in 2016 has proven to be a masterstroke for the Publishing House of Electronics Industry. Armed with a cute mascot (a curious young mammoth with a jaunty hat and a red bowtie who loves to read), the Little Mammoth imprint is about “spreading knowledge that affects the future,” says vice president Wen Ting, whose team knows the importance of branding and brand equity. “Nowadays, children, parents, and educators are specifically asking for Little Mammoth titles.”
Currently, about two-thirds of the imprint’s catalogue, or approximately 300 titles, are on pop science. “This segment has been our focus since the division was established in 2006, and right now, we are targeting children aged three to six and seven to 10, who are looking for additional reading materials outside their school curriculum,” notes Wen, who counts DK as a major partner and has translated bestsellers such as David Macaulay’s How Machines Work and The Way Things Work (with combined sales hitting one million copies), Martin Rees’s Universe, Alice Roberts’s The Complete Human Body, and Jon Woodcock’s Coding series.
Efforts to develop originals are intensifying. “We have learned a lot from translating the best, and we are now implementing—and refining—what we have learned into creating products that are tailored to meet local demands,” Wen says. “For instance, we find that parents and educators have moved on from introductory materials and now seek titles that dig deeper into a particular topic and offer cross-disciplinary content.” The imprint has diversified its offerings to include picture books, puzzles and games, and language learning.
Complex pop-up Open Up: China, for instance, is an original publication that features eight of China’s architectural gems and was launched to coincide with the nation’s 70th anniversary last year; sales have exceeded 20,000 copies. Open Up: Tiananmen is nearing completion. Then there is the six-title Pinyin Is Really Fun series about the official romanization system for Simplified Chinese, which has sold more than 100,000 copies. “We want to make sure our diverse publishing program keeps pace with market demands and helps children to grow and develop scientific thinking from a very young age,” Wen says.