Staggering numbers and unusual circumstances are converging to create a bubbling segment: 370 million children under the age of 18, a two-child policy predicted to add at least three million babies annually, and around 580 publishing companies jumping onto the children’s book bandwagon. Additionally, China’s fast-growing middle class—covering 70% of its urban population or roughly 200 million people based on a McKinsey survey—is exerting its market influence by becoming more demanding, discerning, sophisticated, and vocal.Less statistical but nonetheless critical is the growing awareness—and impetus—among Chinese parents, teachers and policymakers to get children to read more, and to read for leisure as opposed to reading in order to pass their examinations. In fact, China’s 2020 education reform policy is pressurizing schools, teachers and parents to seek more reading, learning, and teaching materials to meet reform objectives, which are to reduce homework and standardized exams and move towards an employment-oriented education system. This has created new opportunities for direct imports, co-publishing deals, bilingual editions, and translations.
The children’s print book market is on course for an 11.7% increase to a full year value of £394m this year if sales continue at the same pace – making 2016 the biggest year for children’s books for the third year in a row.
The Bookseller’s charts editor Kiera O’Brien delivered the sales data derived from Nielsen BookScan today (27th September) at The Bookseller Children’s Conference in London, whilst also revealing that J K Rowling is on course to become the bestselling author of 2016.
Children’s print sales for 2016 are looking very positive so far, O’Brien said, totaling £209m for the 2016 year to date (34 weeks ending 27th August 2016), up £21.8m compared to the same period in 2015. According to O’Brien, this is 24% of the entire print market and is ahead of adult fiction by £3m. In volume terms, children’s publishing is 33% of the entire print market, meaning one in every three books sold so far this year has been a children’s book.
If sales continue at the same pace for the rest of 2016, the children’s print market will have risen 11.7% by the end of the year to £394m, marking the biggest year on year jump since 2007 (17%). The children’s yearly market value has increased by £120m over the last 10 years, a jump of 44%, O’Brien added.
With 2014 being a record year for children’s books—sales of which grew 9.1% year on year to a value of £336.5m, according to Nielsen BookScan—a large number of new imprints and agencies have been created. Some publishers, such as Janetta Otter Barry, formerly of Quarto, are setting up their own companies and many in the industry are launching their own literary agencies.
However, Imogen Cooper, freelance editor at Chicken House and director of the Golden Egg Academy, said although the recent increase in the number of children’s imprints and agents “may seem to some like a great thing”, for authors there may be a downside.
“It’s a tough market, and the danger is that too many books are published, many badly edited and of poor quality,” she said. “As we all know, if an author’s first book fails, it’s very difficult to build a career. Are we in danger of strings of one-book wonders because authors are accepted too early, without the skills they need to have acquired? Manuscripts and authors need time and a great deal of editorial support, together with marketing know-how and industry contacts, to launch a career.”
Cooper pointed out that even if the number of children’s books being printed increases there are only “so many” book suppliers and “getting a book into Waterstones or Amazon is a tough business, even if you have the big guns of the tried and tested publishers”.
full article via Trade wary of children’s market boom | The Bookseller.
During a round-table discussion Tim said “I do a have a concern that Amazon’s dominance is causing problems. We estimate Kindle has a 95% market share of e-book sales in the UK and this is having a damaging effect… Consider the struggles of Barnes & Noble and the Nook platform, the problems of the established Txtr in Germany, and the decision here of Tesco to pull out of Blinkbox Books.”
Children are reading in record numbers in the last decade, which has propelled billion dollar properties such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Not only have these titles done staggering well but it has promoted the success of books with similar subjects and themes and are benefiting from each other’s successes. Over the course of the last two years John Green and Veronica Roth are the highest-selling authors; juvenile fiction is performing so amazingly that 17 of the 20 overall bestsellers in the US during 2014 were books for children.
Nielsen hosted the first annual Children’s Book Summit in Manhattan and produced research for over a four year period. They produced research that the children’s book market has increased 44% in the last decade and 67% of teens read for pleasure. Ironically, although tablet adoption has increased exponentially, 50% still prefer print books over eBooks.
The UK children’s publishing market is up by 10% this year, making it the fastest-growing book sector ahead of what is expected to be a sell-out Bookseller Children’s Conference (25th September).
Nielsen BookScan data shows that consumers spent £187.9m on children’s books in the first eight months of 2014 (1st January–31st August 2014), up 10% on the same period in 2013.
The Bookseller reports that the children’s book market continues to outpace other publishing sectors, with a staggered drift to digital and strong growth in brands the prime drivers.
Ahead of the Bologna Book Fair (24th–27th March), analysis of Nielsen BookScan Top 5,000 data shows the children’s market in 2014 is up by just under a million units at this point compared to the first 11 weeks in 2013 (9.67 million copies versus 8.69 million last year), while value sales have risen £3.2m (or 8.1%) to £42.2m. Overall market data for January shows the sector up 14.3%.
This growth is mainly down to some new authors and properties, plus the continued strong performances of established superstars.
Egmont’s deal to publish the Minecraft tie-in books was the breakout move of late 2013, and continues to gather speed. The Official Redstone Handbook (99,475 units for £514,630) and The Official Beginner’s Handbook (89,945 for almost £474,479) are the two bestselling books of the year in volume and value terms.
But Jeff Kinney and David Walliams are also boosting the numbers. Kinney has shifted £1.8m so far in 2014, £500,000 up on 2013, while Walliams is level with his very strong start to 2013 (£1.37m in 2014; £1.4m in 2013).
While some publishers say that the young adult market was saturated, certain titles continue to sell well. Divergent author Veronica Roth’s sales are showing huge growth, up 1,096% at this point against 2013, and worth nearly £500,000, with the film of the first book in the series released in April.
Waterstones said children’s was a “big priority” in its store refurbishment programme; it plans to create more space for children’s books and related products in its stores. J
There isn’t a single trend that will have a bigger impact on our business in the next year than the move to mobile…
“There isn’t a single trend that will have a bigger impact on our business in the next year than the move to mobile,” said Kristen McLean, founder of books analytics start-up Bookigee, speaking at Launch Kids at Digital Book World 2014 in New York.
McLean cited several data points to support that readers are moving to mobile devices versus desktops for their media consumption. According to data from research firm eMarketer, more time was spent on mobile devices last year than on household computers for the first time ever.
“Mobile strategy is essential for the future of our business,” said Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media, also speaking at the conference.
Scholastic recently launched a mobile app that is meant to help parents and kids connect with print books at book fairs. In its first two months, the app was downloaded 55,000 times, according to Forte.