Whither the Children’s Market?

Publishers Launch Kids children's ebooks publishersBy some recent measures, children’s and young adult titles have powered a level of growth that few other categories are able to match. At the same time, though, research paints a complicated and sometimes uncertain picture of the ways kids interact with ebooks.

As more digital natives enter the market, children’s publishers, authors, app developers and others are questioning how—and even whether—those young readers differ from their elders.

The editorial, marketing, discovery and technological implications of that question are vast and promise to determine the future of children’s publishing.

For the present, though, there isn’t one clear right answer, which is why we want to hear yours.

Take our survey here.


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Ebook Sales Fall in February (Pub Lunch)
The latest figures from the Association of American Publishers for February 2015 shows overall sales of trade titles down 14% over the same month last year, with ebook revenues falling 15%. But Publishers Lunch points out that “even with that decline, however, in a soft month adult ebooks were the single best-selling category.”

Crowdfunded Publishing’s Breakthrough Moment? (Guardian)
To hear some tell it, crowdfunding is always just on the verge of redefining the publishing process and shaking up the industry. One leader at Kickstarter says that “lately we’re seeing more authors and high profile publishers” turn to Kickstarter’s platform. “They’re becoming a critical mass and people are starting to notice it more.” As some traditional publishers’ relationships with authors sour, it doesn’t seem unlikely that the appeal of the model will continue to grow. But for now crowdfunded publishing’s disruptive potential remains just that.

Nook Media Partnership Officially Dissolved (Pub Lunch)
Barnes & Noble’s latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission confirms that Nook Media, LLC is no more. The bookseller repurchased the shares that Microsoft and Pearson had held in the company, and the spinoff of Barnes & Noble’s education division is set to proceed.

Candlewick Press Offers Branded Products on Zazzle (PW)
The publisher launches a store within the custom goods e-tailer Zazzle, featuring more than 1,000 products drawing on imagery and characters in Candlewick Press children’s titles.

Booksellers Leery of Library E-Lending (The Bookseller)
Even though remote ebook borrowing makes up no more than 5% of lending in UK libraries, booksellers and libraries themselves are already voicing concern that the practice will diminish in-person visits by customers and patrons.

Palgrave UK to Keep Calm and Carry on (The Bookseller)
With news that the trade division of Palgrave Macmillan will be folded into St. Martin’s Press in the U.S., the UK side is to continue unaffected as an imprint of the newly formed Springer Nature group.

Do Ebooks Discourage Readers from Finishing Them? (Chicago Tribune)
There are now more tools than ever before for quantitatively answering not just that question but a slew of others related to ebook readers’ behavior. One columnist takes an anecdotal tack, though, confiding, “Before e-readers, I was much likelier to finish books.”

Do Audiobooks Move Too Slowly? (Inside Higher Ed)
One observer comments that the average default speed for most audiobooks is too slow for the average reader: “If you are a nonlinear reader, and your brain requires a very high throughput of information to stay happy, then an audiobook probably will not work for you. The audiobook information delivery is too linear and too slow.” It’s a plausible theory but difficult to quantify, especially since some digital audiobook platforms let users control the pace.

We Are the Cloud and the Cloud Is Us (Reuters)
Today’s forecast for our inexorable dystopian techno-future is cloudy. Amazon and Google are racing to build cloud computing databases where research institutions and medical companies can store and process huge data sets based around human DNA—not just the genome writ large, but yours, mine and Aunt Sally’s. Here’s a look at the booming cloud genomics market (and why it might not be that terrifying after all).
Related: Amazon Takes Cloud Computing into Classrooms

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