Top trends in children's publishing
One of the many advantages of working at the British Library is that I have daily access to the amazing trends reports available in its Business & IP Centre. One of which recently caught my eye was about children’s publishing.
Storytelling has always been an important part of growing up; it’s an essential part of our development. I have many happy memories of hiding under my duvet reading Roald Dahl and the Far away tree as a kid. And now that I’m a mum myself, I can see how much pleasure my toddler gets from reading books like the Tiger came to tea and the Gruffalo. These books have the most beautiful illustrations, and for that, I prefer a printed book. But is that true for the rest of the children’s book market?
The good news is that compared to the rest of the UK book industry, children’s books are still performing well. The Publishing Association Yearbook shows that revenue from children’s books rose by 11.1% to £349m in 2014, in contrast to the 20% decline recorded in total UK book sales.
The most popular format for children’s books continues to be print, which accounts for around 95% of sales (so the answer is yes to my question above). This is very different to trends in areas like adult fiction, where digital or e-book editions account for one third of sales.
There are still lots of specialist bookshops in the UK where you can buy children’s books. There were 1,075 retailers in 2015, 40% of which were small businesses. In terms of big outlets, WHSmiths leads the way with over 600 stores, followed by Waterstones with 250.
The popularity of children’s books continues in public libraries. Children’s authors are heavily represented in the most borrowed lists, with five children’s authors among the top ten most borrowed authors in the UK. Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, Daisy Meadows (authors of Rainbow Magic), Francesca Simon (author of the “Horrid Henry” series) and David Walliams are particularly popular.
My personal favourite is Oliver Jeffers whose books have the most beautiful illustrations and cover important topics like friendship and loneliness, a boy and a penguin.
What’s reassuring is that as a nation, our love for children’s books hasn’t diminished.
Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments below…