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

Jane Friedman

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 co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

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. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

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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10 Comments on "The Status of the Children’s Book Market: Digital Book World, Day 1"

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jeffo
Very interesting presentation. I have to ask: what is CAGR? I couldn’t quite figure that one out. I’d be curious to see how that chart changes in the adult age groups. I also found it interesting, the teens general preference for print books over ebooks. Finally, a comment on the % of teens who read for fun: I have two girls, and while one of them is no longer a teen, there’s almost no time to read for pleasure. Granted, if you want to do it, you’ll make the time, carve it out somewhere, but by the time a lot… Read more »
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[…] print book sales in 2014: 37% juvenile, 23% adult fiction, and 40% adult nonfiction. If you read the day 1 recap, then you know that 80% of YA purchases are by adult readers, for adult readers. I had a […]

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[…] print book sales in 2014: 37% juvenile, 23% adult fiction, and 40% adult nonfiction. If you read the day 1 recap, then you know that 80% of YA purchases are by adult readers, for adult readers. I had a […]

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[…] Status of the Children’s Book Market (2014) | Jane Friedman […]

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[…] Digital Book World 2015 also reported that 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.) […]

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[…] then, to add insult to mortal injury, I found this dreadful little pictograph at Jane Friedman’s blog (it’s at the top of the post, so you can click over to view it); it shows how books rate in […]

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[…] Jane Friedman also reported that “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.)” She shared a great chart from Nielsen on where books rank for different age groups. You can see it here. […]

P.D. Workman
My teen doesn’t read either. But like yours, he has learning disabilities and it is difficult for him. I am happy for his gaming and chatting because he is required to read a lot of information on the screen, sharpening his skills. He did recently listen to an audiobook for fun. The first time he’s read a book on his own initiative. But then the movie was released, and, well… However, take a look at Wattpad. The audience is overwhelmingly teen. My reader demographics over there are 35% teen, and 35% undisclosed. If you assume that 1/3 of the undisclosed… Read more »
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