Toy lab

Adventure in outer space and the human body

There is more behind the Tessloff publishing company than its famous book series HOW AND WHY
HOW AND WHY - children books © Tessloff Verlag

In 1959, the publishing company’s founder Ragnar Tessloff discovered book formats in the United States that present complicated world knowledge for children. Such a thing did not exist in Germany at that time. Tessloff was not the only one who was thrilled by the idea, and the first HOW AND WHY books were introduced to the German market in 1961. In 2021, the series’ 60th birthday was celebrated in style. However, Tessloff has a lot more to offer. A few of you may recognise the following examples and think: “I know that! Oh, so that’s also Tessloff.”

Boy reading the book “The Little Major Tom – Coming Home” from Tessloff on the couch.
Understanding outer space with the little Major Tom – this developed into another successful series. © Tessloff Verlag/Sabine Freudenberger

Science fiction with the little Major Tom and a great learning book about “Planet Earth”

Another successful series which now consists of 11 volumes that was created in cooperation with the German Aerospace Center. The series is about little Major Tom’s adventures in outer space. He is, of course, a passionate researcher together with his parents, siblings, and best friend Stella. Young readers are not only entertained well but are also educated in one fell swoop.

The book „The Little Medic – Surrounded by Viruses” by Prof Dietrich Grönemeyer shows two children in a spaceship flying through a swarm of viruses.
Health topics made exciting and easy to understand with the book “The Little Medic” by Prof Dietrich Grönemeyer. © Tessloff Verlag

Health topics with the Little Medic

In addition to that, the health book series “The Little Medic” was created together with the doctor Dietrich Grönemeyer. This is how it works: A boy named Nano who was “shrunk by accident in a turbo beamer” takes a trip through a human body. Supported by doctor and inventor Dr X and his assistant Micro Minitec, the little medic learns all about the human body – and that way, readers learn more about nutrition, arteries, veins or even the pylorus. Volume 3 was released in 2021 and is all about – the hot topic – viruses!

Portrait of Katja Meinecke Meurer, Managing Director of the Tessloff publishing company
Katja Meinecke Meurer, Managing Director of the Tessloff publishing company © Tessloff Verlag/Rudi Ott

A lot of strategic planning is behind the educational stories

That much input by the Tessloff publishing company does not happen en passant. A lot of experience and consultation within the team are what is behind the decisions regarding content: “We create a strategic programme plan. That means we do not publish manuscripts that are sent in to us but rather deliberately commission our own content. The programme plan takes many aspects into consideration, such as different distribution channels and needs, topics and trends. Other points are series continuations, marketability abroad, market analyses, etc.”, as managing director Katja Meinecke-Meurer (52) lets us in on the business side behind the stories. However, almost everything at Tessloff is homemade: “In general, we develop and conceptualise all volumes ourselves within the company, we make very few licenses. This is also true for our digital products, which we see as an addition rather than competition.” The “Bookii” turned out to be a big hit, a digital listening pen that turns books into a multimedia experience with various sounds and a read-aloud function.

Picture of the Tessloff publishing house stand at the Spielwarenmesse 2020 with Tessloff managing director Katja Meinecke Meurer, the then Spielwarenmesse CEO Ernst Kick, Nuremberg’s economic consultant Michael Fraas, the then mayor of Nuremberg Ulrich Maly, and the managing partner of Müller Medien Constanze Oschmann.
The mayor of Nuremberg visiting the Tessloff stand – at that time Ulrich Maly (2nd from the right, from the left accompanied by Tessloff managing director Katja Meinecke Meurer, Spielwarenmesse CEO at that time Ernst Kick, Nuremberg’s economic consultant Michael Fraas, and on the very right Constanze Oschmann, managing partner of Müller Medien) © Tessloff

We meet all decision makers on our doorstep at Spielwarenmesse

A part of extensive market research is visiting leading trade fairs in person, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair or the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg: “The Spielwarenmesse, which we have dearly missed the past two years, is one of our highlights. All decision makers right on our doorstep!“ reminisces Meinecke-Meurer. 

Revenue has developed well despite Covid-19

The book industry proved itself to be surprisingly crisis-resistant during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tessloff publishing house also managed to profit from some of the developments, as Katja Meinecke-Meurer sums it up: “The home-schooling situation led to a higher demand for well-founded knowledge conveyed in an appealing way. The product group Children’s Non-Fiction Books grew by 14% in 2021 in comparison to 2019 (before the pandemic) in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) according to Media Control. Tessloff, as one of the leading publishing companies in this segment, saw an even higher increase in revenue percentage”, she summarises.

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