Time Warner Debuts Teen People Book Club

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Teen People and Book-of-the-Month Club joined forces this week to launch the Teen People Book Club and help leverage the magazine's database of nearly 1 million subscribers.

The magazine debuted two years ago as a Generation Y offshoot of People amid an increasingly popular and lucrative teen magazine market, and it has climbed rapidly in circulation. The book club represents its first brand extension.

"A lot of the syndicated research told us teens were just as active in the book arena as they are in magazine buying, so all the signs were there that this was a perfect match," said Jodi Sternoff, senior manager of new business development at the Teen People Book Club.

There is little competition in the teen book marketing niche beyond retail.

The club will be marketed both through a monthly catalog and a companion Web site, www.tpbc.com. A direct mail package was mailed to 500,000 teen prospects, 10 percent of which was active Teen People subscribers. The rest was mailed to names from both the BOMC database and outside lists of teens who have purchased through direct mail.

The first catalog will mail Feb. 15 to new members. Both Teen People and BOMC are part of Time Warner.

The catalog will include more than 100 fiction and nonfiction titles that are selected by Teen People Book Club editors and the Review Crew, a group of teen reviewers. The Review Crew also writes book reviews for the Web site and the catalog. Orders can be placed online, through the mail or over the telephone from the new club, which is being promoted equally to the young men and women.

Three more acquisition direct mailings will go out this year; the next mail drop will be in May. Catalogs will mail monthly to members who choose when and how to order, in a marketing departure from the traditional negative option selling channel offered by other book clubs. Negative option selling requires that the customer send in a card to refuse an automatic selection mailed regularly. The Teen People club also is the first to offer the opportunity to order without any minimum purchase obligation. This selling structure is similar to Play, Columbia House's 2-year-old marketing effort that moved away from negative option selling.

The 74-year-old BOMC has nine distinctive book clubs and two continuity programs. Its other programs have been testing positive option selling as well. Melanie Miller, vice president of new business development at BOMC, said the division will launch another club later this year - probably in the summer - but she would not give any details.
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