I received a relatively snippy email today from Scholastic vice president of corporate communications Kyle Good in response to our story about their upcoming book-meets-video-games series The 39 Clues. In the story I referenced the same paragraph of the New York Times that Ian Bogost referenced which said that the series was the publisher's attempt to "create a branded franchise for which it owns all the rights" essentially cutting the writers out of future profits.
The veep was quick to point out that they never said that, rather that it was the New York Time's interpretation of their series.
Your interpretation of the interpretation of the reporter at the New York Times does NOT reflect the feelings of anyone at Scholastic regarding J.K.Rowling. Quite the opposite, we are enormously proud to be her U.S. publisher.
Scholastic retains the rights to The 39 Clues because the project was developed in the Scholastic Lab for Informal Learning in conjunction with the company's Trade publishing division as you can read in the attached press release. I suggest you use this as original source material.
Good call, though I still have never been a fan of publisher-driven projects, in any medium. And for the record, their interpretation of my interpretation of an interpretation; was actually an interpretation of my interpretation of an interpretation of interpretation.... wait what were we talking about again?
SCHOLASTIC TO PUBLISH THE 39 CLUES, A GROUNDBREAKING, MULTI-PLATFORM NEW SERIES FOR CHILDREN
INTERACTIVE ADVENTURE LAUNCHES WORLDWIDE IN SEPTEMBER 2008 WITH FIRST BOOK AND STORYLINE BY BESTSELLING AUTHOR RICK RIORDAN
New York, NY (December 18, 2007) — Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, breaks new ground with the launch of The 39 Clues, a multi-platform adventure series for ages 8-12. Scholastic's Trade publishing division will launch the program simultaneously in September 2008 in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Combining reading with online gaming and collecting, The 39 Clues will include 10 adrenaline-charged books to be released over a 24-month period, 350 collectible cards, and a dynamic online game where readers uncover information beyond what is revealed in the books and cards and compete for prizes. All rights for The 39 Clues are controlled by Scholastic, and Scholastic Media, the company's entertainment, licensing and consumer products division, will be extending the print and internet components by developing the property across other media and consumer products. The first book in the series, The Maze of Bones is written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Rick Riordan, who also outlined the program's 10-book story arc. The Maze of Bones will be released in September 2008, and the official The 39 Clues game will begin worldwide on September 9, 2008.
"With the breakthrough concept of The 39 Clues, Scholastic is uniquely positioned to reach millions of young people who are readers, gamers, collectors, or all three, and encourage them to participate in a multi-dimensional 21st Century reading experience," said Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade. "With this innovative series, Scholastic will reach millions of kids worldwide—getting them excited about books in a whole new way."
"The 39 Clues is an immersive experience, whose high powered, adventurous storylines and characters are perfect for development across both traditional and new media platforms," said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media.
The 39 Clues centers around the Cahills—the most powerful family the world has ever known. The source of its power is a mystery that can only be unraveled by assembling 39 clues hidden around the world throughout history. The spellbinding first book (Book #1: The Maze of Bones, September 2008), by Rick Riordan, author of the New York Times bestselling Percy Jackson series, will be followed by a team of best-selling and acclaimed authors, including Gordon Korman (Book #2, January 2009), Peter Lerangis (Book #3, April 2009), and Jude Watson (Book #4, July 2009). Additional authors and publication dates for subsequent titles will be announced at a later date.
There will be 350 collectible cards created for The 39 Clues—each marked with a unique code. Six cards are included with each book, and randomly assorted card packs of sixteen will be available for purchase separately. Kids can register their cards online and manage their card collections through The 39 Clues website, while trying to collect them all. The 39 Clues website currently under construction, www.the39clues.com will allows kids to participate in the adventure by tracking their points and their clues, managing their card collections, digging through the Cahill archives for secrets, and "traveling" the world to collect Cahill artifacts, interview characters, and hunt down the clues. The official The 39 Clues game will begin worldwide on September 9, 2008. Finding clues and earning points results in prizes—and those who solve all 39 clues will be able to compete for the grand prize.
Scholastic will be giving away more than $100,000 in prizes in a variety of ways throughout the duration of the series. Once a participant finds all 39 clues and uncovers the Cahill treasure, they are entered into a pool of eligible candidates that will compete for the chance to win a grand prize of $10,000.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries, and television networks; and the Company's Internet Site, www.scholastic.com.