Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, November 15, 2010

Raugust, K. (2005). The Wireless Frontier. Publisher's Weekly, 252(12), 19-20. Retrieved November 15, 2010, from Library Literature and Information Science Full Text.

Raugust states (2005): "[...] publishers are starting to experiment with cell phones as alternative means of distributing content, generating revenue and promoting print titles [...] Publishers targeting teens and tweens view cell phones as a marketing channel first, although paid content delivery can be part of the package"(p.19).  This article was written over five years ago and, not surprisingly, this experiment is not a common practice where teens and tweens are not only able to access anything they want, via media, but publishers can now overload 'tweens inboxes with promotional materials. Honestly, just when we thought that spam in our email isn't enough, we are now getting spammed via text messages.

In this article, entitled Wireless Frontier, Raugust discusses the use of cellphones as a marketing tool. In hind sight, this method of promotion sounds great because not only can readers get updates about their favorite books, they can get additional information that may appeal to their interests. However, and this article points this out, is that with the million and one different cell phone, clients who wish to use this method to market goods not only need to be aware of the many barriers that make this tool more burdensome than productive: "Publishers want to get into wireless in part to gain an understanding of this complex and confusing market and how it can be exploited beyond generating revenue and marketing their brands. Each carrier, platform, operating system, and handset have different specifications, essentially requiring publishers to create a unique application for each phone and each carrier, a costly proposition that raises quality control issues"(p.19)

So how does this affect 'tweens? With the iPhone 4 and Androids, 'tweens can have unlimited access to applications that can not only provide them with their daily horoscope, but allow them to access consumer sites where they can purchase all they want and when they want. Moreover, 'tweens can actually build their own library collections with a simple app and download a variety of books for free or for a minimal price (which is usually charged to mom and dad's cell phone account). With the reliance on the type of media, literacy, itself, has transformed where children are learning their letters, sounds, motor skills, and comprehension skills by playing with a smartphone that requires competency to access certain features (navigating the main menu, reading instructions, listening to sounds, and playing with buttons).

After reading this article, I though it was pretty clever of Random House to create an electronic text messaging list that alerts "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" fans the release day of "Girls in Pants." Not to mention, girls can send "Sisterhood-isms" to their friends just for the fun of it. By utilizing these services, in conjunction with a product, publishers can not only make a profit on the book, itself, they can say other things such as t-shirts, notebooks, jewelry, etc. that promotes the title (has anyone seen the "Twilight" section at Borders? 'Tweens have more power than ever with the use of technology to not only stay in touch with trends, but shape consumerism as we speak. No wonder publishers have jumped on the bandwagon! They need money and what better way to get it by flooding the iPhone and Android app markets with apps that will entice 'tweens to purchase certain goods with just one touch.

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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