A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A First for Books?

FirstBook is a clever organisation, very clever. What makes it work, and work at scale, is an approach to resource which is not typical, but which makes a lot of sense.

FirstBook aim’s to give children from low income homes the magic of their first books.

What’s cleaver (aside from the concept) is the way they have managed to team up with corporations to form mutually beneficial deals.

Take FirstBook’s marketplace as an example; an online book sales site which sells to local reading groups at discount rates. The publishers often have excess books which they can not sell, and to store them costs money. Those in local reading groups often have access to some finances, but not much. If publishers were to post out books in small numbers to these small groups it would not be cost effective- and so they don’t. In come FirstBook, acting as a mass purchaser of low cost quality books, and a mass distributor. The publishing companies are happy, and the books are getting into the home, which ordinarily would not be buying books. BINGO.

Clever, hey?

Another example is marketing deals. The majority of revenue for FirstBook come though marketing deals, being a leader in what they term ‘cause based marketing’. Teaming up with Cheerios as an example, FirstBook were able to distribute five million books in cereal boxes. In turn, Cheerios or the like, get to co-brand books with FirstBook, having positive knock on effects for the reputation of those companies in the marketplace.

That’s just a couple of example. The organisation is full of them.

Kyle Zimmer who was one of the founders of FirstBook started out 15 years ago. Back then she thought it would only be a job for a year or two.. little did she know. At the time she was a Washington lawyer and her lawyer friends found it hard to believe that she was leaving the profession. But Kyle continued and ended up using her lawyer boardroom experience to negotiate deals for FirstBook- and continues to do so. Millions of books later, she and the team not only still going strong but getting stronger.


Post a Comment

<< Home