April 8, 2011, 10:56 AM

Scholastic.com launches a virtual book club

The children’s book publisher will debut a mobile gaming app and a Facebook page.

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Scholastic Inc. is rolling out a mobile and social media initiative this spring in an effort to connect teens with their favorite authors and books, the publisher and children’s book retailer announced today.

The program dubbed “this is teen” will kick off on April 26, 2011, and will include a Facebook page where readers can communicate with authors and each other.  The page will feature author videos, blog entries, contests, trivia and giveaways.

“Our goal with ‘this is teen’ is to create a destination and a community for readers—a virtual book club experience where the conversation starts with books,” says Stacy Lellos, vice president of marketing for Scholastic, No. 49 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

The retailer is also launching a location-based mobile gaming app where users can accumulate points, and be instantly enrolled in a sweepstakes for prizes. The app includes book-related challenges like coming up with the best opening line for a story, snapping photos of specific titles at participating bookstores, and getting books signed at author events. 

Scvngr, a provider of location-based mobile app technology, will provide the mobile gaming platform. “When targeting a teen audience, it’s absolutely crucial to include a mobile component in your brand’s campaign to drive engagement and recall,” says Chris Mahl, senior vice president at Scvngr. “Not only will Scvngr’s social game engine create deeper engagement for the audience already in bookstores, it will also provide a platform for friends to share their in-store experiences, effectively driving more traffic to bookstore locations.”

Scholastic is Scvngr’s first publisher client.  The location-based gaming provider also works with multichannel shoe retailer Journeys, a unit of Genesco Inc.

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