How this publisher of children’s books leverages direct consumer marketing to be successful


What does a publishing house need to do to sell 2 million books in a single year? For Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream, the answer may be unexpected: combine meaningful topics for kids with innovative direct-to-consumer marketing tactics. It’s an unconventional approach, but it works – time consuming.

Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream is a San Diego-based children’s book publisher founded by author Jason Kutasi in November 2017. At PDIC, a small but dedicated team of people who focus on ‘books with a purpose’ – in other words, stories that are meaningful and educational, helping children become the best versions of themselves.

“The success of Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream has come to fill a need,” said Kutasi. “Each family has dozens of books with beautiful drawings and a great story, but there was a void in the market. We quickly realized that there was an opportunity for us to offer children’s books that fall between traditional educational content and books with an entertaining story.

The company launched in November 2017 with 5,000 copies of a single children’s book, and sold its entire inventory in the same month – faster than expected. Revenue reached $ 1.45 million in 2018, and since then the company has grown steadily, selling over 1.35 million pounds in 2020 and on track to sell 2.25 million pounds in 2021. .

Books with a purpose

PDIC recognizes that literature plays a huge role in how children grow up. This is why the publisher strives to instill values ​​and life lessons through its children’s books. Commonly highlighted topics in PDIC titles include emotional learning, loss, gratitude, etc. Parents and other customers can search the website by categories ranging from story books and activity books to books categorized by specific events, such as holidays. Books can also be sorted according to the age of the reader: first readers (0-3 years), beginners (4-6 years) or advanced (7-8 years).

PDIC may take a traditional approach to encouraging kids to read, but the company’s marketing is completely modernized, emphasizing ads and digital marketing as the best way to get books into the hands of readers. PDIC achieves the majority of its sales through its website, which accounts for approximately 75% of total revenue. Although Amazon accounts for 20% of sales, PDIC does not advertise on the platform, Kutasi said.

“Amazon has a big reach, but these people are already in the market looking for a book,” he said. “We’re getting a lot more reach and scale with Facebook, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok than we can get on Amazon. “

The rewards of innovation

PDIC’s innovative direct-to-consumer approach has enabled the publisher to reap major rewards. The 1.35 million books sold by the company in 2020 place PDIC in 10th overall sales of children’s books in the United States that year. PDIC projects more than two million unit sales in 2021. The 365,000 five-star ratings the publisher has received seal the deal: PDIC knows what it does when it comes to writing (and marketing) books that appeal to children.

Kutasi’s digital marketing background has helped him merge his publishing know-how with contemporary digital marketing strategies to take book sales to the next level. He said he views PDIC as a publisher that does not follow old industry rules.

“We didn’t invent e-commerce, but we just bolted e-commerce onto a vertical industry – children’s books – that doesn’t have the same margins as most economy companies,” he said. -he declares. “We do work directly with consumers for children’s books. “

And PDIC’s direct-to-consumer approach doesn’t just benefit customers; it’s also better for authors – it eliminates industry middlemen and increases royalties for authors. It’s by design, said Kutasi: PDIC was created with the intention of supporting small independent writers.

“When PDIC publishes an author’s book, the company bears 100% of the marketing and publishing costs involved,” Kutasi said. “So, once the book is written, the author just has to relax.

Authors’ earnings also increase as PDIC tests every book cover with paid ads to help sell as many books as possible. Authors even have the ability to build one-on-one relationships with readers, resulting in increased sales over time.

More royalties for the authors, important life lessons for children, and a commitment to supporting American businesses – at Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream, it’s a win-win for everyone. And as the publisher continues to refine its approach, PDIC is only expected to continue to grow.

Puppies & Ice Cream is a small independent publisher of children’s books based in San Diego, California. They offer an editorial alternative to the traditional publishing model that benefits both authors and clients. They strongly believe in supporting American business and all of their books are printed in the United States.

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