Before Christmas, Sarah O and Ruth went to Sweden to visit our parent company Bonnier in Stockholm. Of course, they came back with good stories, but they also came back with the exciting news that we (Sara OC, Sarah B and Amy) were asked to take our own journey to Stockholm to expand on our wacky (read: extremely successful and innovative) digital program.
So, a few weeks later, we boarded a plane to Stockholm. Sara OC and Sarah B were delighted by the snow covered terrain they viewed out the window as we landed, whereas Amy felt like it was pretty much par for the course having grown up in the snowy midwestern regions of the US.
The Swedish hospitality began the moment we landed in Stockholm. Just check out our welcoming committee:
Yes, this was in the baggage claim area, along with an all ABBA soundtrack.
The fabulous children’s team at Bonnier Carlsen had a slate of meetings arranged for us over two days. Each meeting we had was buzzy and inspirational, and resulted in lots of idea-sharing. Take our meeting with Mix Forlag for example — these ladies (literally two people) — have put together the coolest reading app! It’s called Dead Time — basically, you click on the app, and then a little timer comes up. You set the minute had to however much time you have before you next train or before your appointment, and then the app brings up several short stories which you can read in your selected time slot. SO AWESOME.
We met most of the children’s editorial team, the group digital team, and web site and social media team, to discuss both our projects and what they have planned for the future. We showed them some of our best crazy videos and we hear there may be an increase in funny video content coming from Bonnier Carlsen editorial in the near future. They encouraged us to think outside the box with regards to ebooks and ebook covers. We’re already charging ahead on several projects in relation to this idea.
A few things we learned about the Swedish digital market:
1. NO AMAZON (yet) — They don’t have Amazon controlling the majority of the digital market like we do, which leads to the next point…
2. DISTRIBUTION CONTROL — Bonnier, and the other major publishers in the market all own a part of the main ebook distributor in the country.
3. SOCIAL DRM (digital rights management) — This is standard practice. Like Harry Potter, when you buy the digital books, they are watermarked with some personal details, so publishers can trace piracy. But this also means you can share with your friends and your various devices.
4. LIBRARY LENDING — They also told us that 90 percent of ebooks are read through the library.
5. IPADS ARE KING — In a market without Kindles, iPads are the device of choice for e-reading.
All in all, it was a great trip professionally. Of course, we scheduled in time to take in some of the local cuisine and breathtaking sights (and when we say breathtaking, we mean it was impossible to breath as ice chips were being whipped in our faces). Pics are below:
We are so grateful to Ulrika and Lotta for helping us organise this trip. We do hope to return, hopefully in the summer.
- Sara, Sarah and Amy