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Building on the massive success of its 39 Clues adventure series for kids–which includes not just print books but also online games and card collecting, and sold 11 million copies–Scholastic is publishing seven 39 Clues short stories as e-books, starting on December 25.
The e-singles series is called The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire, and each story is 30 to 40 pages long and will sell for 99 cents, USA Today reports. The stories were written by Scholastic’s in-house editorial team and are all being published under the pseudonym “Clifford Riley,” who is also a character in the series.
Many publishers have experimented with e-singles, but this appears to be the first time that a children’s book publisher is trying them out. Christmas vacation is a good time to do it since kids are on vacation and a new story will be available each day for seven days. Each story leads up to “one explosive reveal,” according to the books’ Kindle pages.
“We know a lot of kids read on digital devices and a lot will be getting e-readers for the holidays,” David Levithan, publisher and editorial director of Scholastic Press, said. There are actually very few statistics about kids’ e-reading habits, and it’s unclear how many have their own e-readers, though this holiday season could mark a tipping point. Last year Scholastic published a big report on kids and reading in the digital age, and it would be great to see that report updated as e-reader prices continue to fall and the devices become more popular.