First, apple slices replaced french fries; now e-books instead of toys? McDonald's stores in the United Kingdom have just launched a new Happy Meal promotion with Kobo, a Canadian based e-reader and e-book company. The promotion will run until June 17th and it offers a code for a free e-book, and an additional voucher on the side of a Happy Meal box for a £1 print book or e-book series. The free e-book is one in the children's mystery series The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton. The coupon applies to The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, also both by Blyton, a well-known children's author.
McDonalds expects to sell 15 million Happy Meals in the U.K. during the promotion, which would temporarily make them the largest children's book distributor in the country in 2014.
The promotion does require access to either a smart phone or an e-reader, which can be problematic for some parents. If you don't have access to that kind of technology, your child doesn't have access to their Happy Meal prize. In an email to The Wire, Kobo President Michael Tamblyn did note that the brand's e-readers are available on a number of devices, including "any Kobo device or any of the Kobo apps for iOS, Android, etc." Kobo's least expensive reader, the Kobo Mini, is $59.99, but the apps are free to download.
The promotion also offers a discounted series of print books, for £1 rather than £5.99. This can be redeemed for a physical book at WHSmith in Britain and at Easons in Northern Ireland.