Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Digital was the focus for many children’s publishers attending this year’s London Book Fair, and we saw a significant increase in the number of walk-ups enquiring about the Children’s ebook market with questions primarily around the size of the market, channels, formats and devices. With the explosion of tablet computers and other robust mobile devices on the market such as the iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle Fire, the demand for high quality graphical content is higher than ever, especially for children’s books.
As outlined in a previous post here, recent sales figures show that the value of children’s ebooks fell last year, primarily due to unflattering comparisons because of the success of 2012’s The Hunger Games series. Children’s ebooks generated $170.5 million in US sales in 2013, a sizable market, and about 11% of the total children’s book market, according to the AAP. Still, children’s ebook sales were up considerably from 2011, when they were about $105 million. It will be interesting to see what 2014 holds for this segment of the market as more publishers engage and learn how to drive markets and revenue.
From a marketing perspective, the internet and technology are opening up opportunities for children’s publishers in ways that they could only have dreamed of a decade ago. Book brands like Beast Quest (Orchard), Young Bond (RH) and Authur Quinn (Mercier Press) all now have their own dedicated web spaces with activities, features to download and online fan clubs. Publishers have probably always viewed major children’s brands as ‘stand-alone’ identities and are busy developing specific websites to engage with their target market – children expect to find this information online.
With all this in mind, I spent some time going through our sales data for all our children’s titles and found some interesting pieces of data I thought I’d share with you. I looked at the two broad BISAC’s:
- Fiction performs 10x better than non-fiction;
- Nonfiction is steadier, with fiction seeing a lot more ‘ups and downs’;
- Nonfiction sees a better geographic spread of sales, with fiction sales very UK-centric (probably a reflection of rights);
- Amazon is leading the sales charge in both; but,
- Kobo are the next largest, followed by Apple (Kobo’s sales are just over twice Apples);
- Other channels with significant sales are libraries, Nook, Libri, Oyster and Txtr.
Here are two screenshots from our system, one for each BISAC level. Each screenshot shows Value and Volume over the past year.
Juvenile Nonfiction: General
Juvenile Fiction: General (April sales aren’t in from retailers yet)
Clearly strong, consistent growth for fiction.
As always, we will continue to track these types of trends and share them with our friends at DBW going forward.