What is the status of the children’s book market in 2015

In the past years, the Children’s Book Publishing industry has been encountering challenges like competition from new technologies and the postrecessionary income problems. Children’s literacy remained important enough that even the slightest gains in disposable income brought greater demand for children’s books. From 2013 to 2014, print juvenile books experienced 12.8% sales growth. 2015 has seen more social media engagement and activity from businesses, but it has not replaced traditional book marketing. Marketers learned and will continue to learn to use them in colaboration with one another.

The European children’s book market has stagnated, in contrast with the US, Chinese, Brasilian  or Australian market that have increased sales, some up to 28%(Brasil). In China (where children’s sales are a smaller proportion than in the West) total unit sales were up 3%, but children’s units grew by 10%.  Why? Some of the reasons are local; for instance, the relaxation of family size legislation in China might have influenced their growth in sales of children’s books.

Another important aspect of the 2015 market is that children start reading e-books more and more often, and from younger ages.  In 2014 we have seen that 21% of purchased books are e-books. The sale of e-books has tripled for the past 4 years, starting from 7 % in 2011. In spite of this growth of eBooks readers, print books remain the touchstone for children and families.

As a writer, editor or illustrator, you should take the following numbers into consideration: approximately 27% of children’s books are bought by adults without any children and not as a gift. In 2011, five of the U.S. top 20 bestselling children’s books fell into the Young Adults category. In 2014, 11 of the top 20 were also Young Adults . Shocking, but true 80% of YA books are bought by adults for themselves to read.

A survey by Jonathan Nowell has shown that the ranking of books in children’s life decreases with age. From age 0 to 10, children still prefer printed books in favor of toys and TV.  The age sector from 11 to 13 puts the book at the bottom of their priorities, after TV, mobile phones, computer games and live games. Finally, the majority of 14 to 17 years old  teens no longer find interest in reading (at least not on paper), as they are drawn into the social media life. Here comes the biggest challenge- finding a way to make young adults books attractive for the 11 to 17 age sector.

Even so, with teenagers’ absence in the book market, children’s share of overall print books are quite high: 34% in the UK, 37% in the US, 18% in China.