Children’s books sales outperformed the rest of the market in the first half of 2011, down just 1% year on year to £143m, due to blockbusting brands and the delay in children adopting digital content in this area.
According to Nielsen BookScan figures presented at the Bookseller Children’s Conference, the total consumer market was down 3.5% year on year to 16th July. Across the entire TCM, fiction sales were down by 7% to £210m, with non-fiction sales down by 2% to £376m.
In children’s general non-fiction, sales were up by 6% to £14.6m, boosted by brands such as Moshi Monsters. Sales within children’s fiction were up by 8% to £42.7m.
However, sales of annuals were down by 52%, or £1.1m, with YA fiction sales also down by 38%. However, if sales from the top five paranormal romance authors are stripped from the YA category, sales would then be up by 20% to £11.7m.
Publishers said the children’s market could be benefiting from spending on children being prioritised in tough economic times, with Hachette Children’s m.d. Marlene Johnson adding the middle-class baby boom was really boosting pre-school sales. She said: "What is interesting is that they are buying old books; with the downturn of libraries, and the fear in bookselling at the moment, what everyone is doing is playing completely safe. It is concentrated in a very few books."
Publishers were confident YA would remain a strong category.