Anna Burgard joins Harcourt Children’s Books in the newly created position of director of new product development, where she’ll be ‘thinking more about the product, and not strictly the books,’ as well as making the creative decision for Harcourt as to what has line extension possibility.
Burgard, who will be relocating from Time-Life Trade publishing in Virginia to the Harcourt San Diego office, says her new job will involve taking new and backlist titles, like The Day You Were Born, Mary Poppins and The Little Prince, into new areas. ‘We’re going a little more into the book-plus-gift area, packaging the book with other things to extend the brand in different directions,’ Burgard says. ‘We’ll be working with new products and media tie-ins, as we’re already doing with the Kipper series.’
Aiming to duplicate some of the Kipper success, Burgard says Harcourt might develop books that will coordinate specifically with a television show. She will be exploring numerous areas to broaden the range of product, traveling to all the major trade shows acquiring licenses. ‘The fabulous thing about this is that it’s limitless, and the product is wonderful as a base,’ Burgard says. ‘I’ll be focusing on the backlist first, starting with what’s been successful and broadening it, then acquiring based on the success of those efforts and doing similar product lines.’
Burgard will also expand the age range of Harcourt titles that have been successful for one demo by transforming the text to make it more appealing to either a younger or older audience. ‘Take something like the book Time For Bed: It can be changed to appeal to a slightly older age group…there’s even a lot of children’s product that crosses the line into adult,’ Burgard says.
Burgard adds Harcourt would like to expand more in the on-line scene, where the pubco already has numerous educational programs to help kids with their homework.
Burgard’s background spans a broad range of publishing roles, acquisitions, editing and design, and editing for special markets.