The Dailymail has recently published an article about McDonalds Books for kids.
What the Hamburger Giant is doing, in the UK, is testing out whether free books for kids is a better idea than toys for kids in their Happy Meals.
They are going to use the books of Dorling Kindersley and if available, use vouchers for the “bookstore” WH Smith.
Now this is a really good idea for McDonalds Books but a bad idea for some publishers/ authors.
Parents love books more than toys and if McDonalds can push further the true studies that books are better for kids especially shaping their adult life, then parents will buy more Happy Meals.
Authors are going to get their books out to a major targeted audience who will buy more books from that author.
Books are much better than toys…full stop.
How do you buy into the McDonalds idea? And if it takes off, will other fast food establishments with child friendly places utilize the idea? More than likely. So publishers will need to start to think about this new idea. Others will start to think of similar joint ventures and find away to get their books in front of a target audience (JV with daycares. cereal makers (which was done in the 80s)).
The single author without a publisher needs then the coat-tail this marketing technique especially if they are writing kids books. If this works, McDonalds can then look for the highest bidder to get their catalog of books into Happy Meals.
The voucher system doesn’t specifically direct buyers to your book, just the store where they could buy any.
How will this effect their toy movie tie-ins?
I think it is good that McDonalds Books is going in this direction. Sure their Happy Meals might not be what people class as a great meal, but they are not really supposed to be. It is supposed to be a special meal, a fun time and McDonalds is at least trying whilst still running a business.