The Status of the Children’s Book Market: Digital Book World, Day 1

Digital Book World 2015

I’m speaking at Digital Book World (DBW) this year, and even though I missed the first day events, I followed closely on Twitter. One of the big themes on Tuesday was the children’s market, with a full day of sessions presented by Publishers Launch in partnership with DBW.

Jonathan Nowell from Nielsen presented some fascinating charts and trends in a morning session. This one was my favorite.

US Children's Book Market - Nielsen

Other takeaways from Nowell’s presentation:

  • Print juvenile books experienced 12.8% unit sales growth from 2013 to 2014.
  • Juvenile bestsellers are taking up a bigger percentage of the overall bestseller list—its growth is driving the industry.
  • Children are starting to read e-books at a younger age, and the e-book format is growing as a percentage share of all books purchased. (It increased to 21% in 2014, up from 14% in 2013.)
  • 80% of YA books are bought by adults for themselves.
  • Nowell concluded by saying the greatest challenge is expressed by the chart above.

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Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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