E-fairs offer year-round access to books
Schools can operate a virtual book fair at any time of the school year. As with in-person events, this online opportunity allows teachers to host a classroom-specific fair and earn money to pay for classroom supplies.
“As a way to supplement our in-school events, we offer an online shopping experience for friends and families who can’t attend their book fairs in person,” says Alan Boyko, president of Scholastic Book Fairs. “Online, we offer additional titles that aren’t available at the in-school book fair, such as early series installments, so students who are just finding their way to a popular series can read them all.”
Scholastic has offered an online ordering platform since 2012. However, the company does not consider the virtual store as a replacement for the in-school fair, and does not offer stand-alone virtual fairs to replace in-school events.
The Scholastic Store carries books and educational products, games and gifts. Schools earn 25% of online sales and 2% on all other purchases throughout the rest of the year.
Follett Books e-Fairs
Follett plans to launch Follett Book e-Fairs this fall as a complement to the in-person book fairs. Through an online portal, teachers will be able to initiate an e-fair and customize the selection of titles.
“It’s a digital experience in which they can take advantage of the curation that Follett provides, off the shelf, or customize it,” says Britten Follett, senior vice president of marketing for Follett School Solutions. “Teachers can add books if they know they’re going to be teaching a particular topic or lesson, or add books that they know their classroom is especially interested in.”
Educators can also recommend specific books for particular students through the book ordering portal, and parents can see those options when they log in.
Fifty percent of every online order goes back to the teacher who will be able to use the money to purchase classroom products on a rewards site that the company is now building. The site will offer paperback books first and later include other items such as furniture and bulletin board decorations, says Britten Follett.
“We see book fairs and e-fairs as a great alternative to fundraising,” she says. “Schools have a lot of different fundraising options—everything from candy bars to wrapping paper. This fundraising tool gets books in the hands of kids and helps parents build home libraries—similar to physical book fairs. E-fairs extend the physical book fairs all year long.”
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