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Reed Publishing Delivering Educational Results

Reed Publishing Delivering Educational Results

Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd achieved record foreign exchange earnings of $7.7 million in 2003, generated largely through the success of Sails Literacy, its leading-edge learning system for children.

A finalist in the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise 2004 Export Awards, the company has had enormous export growth in recent years driven by the Sails Literacy system, says Export Manager Tracey Strudley.

The 600-title system was developed for a global audience by New Zealand educationalists Jill Eggleton and the late Jo Windsor. It takes a child from learning to read through to reading to learn.

“Our business model for selling educational products is quite different to most of our competitors, as we market the system rather than a bag of books,” explains Ms Strudley.

Reed, a finalist in the creative category of the 2004 Export Awards, has established the Sails series in 14 countries including the USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and South Africa. It plans to take it all over the world to countries that have compatible teaching methods.

Ms Strudley says Reed’s competitive advantage is built upon innovative products and supporting systems.

“Our educational products are the most rigorously tested and trialled in the industry. Every book is used first in an Auckland school where children are generally from lower socio-economic families. If it works for them we know it will work in the projects of Chicago or New York where children face similar challenges in life and learning.”
Ms Strudley says Reed unashamedly leverages off New Zealand’s reputation as a pioneer of internationally recognised literacy practices, and is also innovative in its market development techniques. Last year for example it ran a 'Sails to New Zealand' incentive promotion for sales reps to increase business in the highly competitive North American market. The promotion, offering successful reps a holiday in New Zealand, was reportedly a first in the US market and led to an increase in sales - bucking a negative trend in the industry.

Based in Auckland, Reed employs 80 staff and generates about 40% of its annual turnover from exporting educational products and also fiction and non-fiction consumer books for children and adults.

Its most notable recent success is Witi Ihimaera’s The Whale Rider. Reed has sold the book into 19 countries, boosting sales by developing an edition of the book linked to the movie adaptation.

“Our critical success factors include ensuring we are developing educational product for today’s children, listening to and understanding our customer’s needs, and mobilising available resources to optimise opportunities like the worldwide launch of The Whale Rider movie.”

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