Children’s Book Market Successes to Be Featured at Institute

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Kristen McLean, founder and CEO of data and analytics company Bookigee, will share the statistics and studies behind today’s thriving children’s book market — one of the most stable parts of the publishing industry — during a featured talk at this month’s Children’s Institute.

On Tuesday, April 21, McLean will present “The U.S. Children’s Book Market — Where We Are and Where We’re Going,” which will look at the significant role children’s books are playing in the book business today as well as offer actionable resources for booksellers.

Based on statistics from the 2014 “Nielsen Annual Children’s Book Industry Report,” McLean will provide an overview of the U.S. children’s book market, focusing on the growing share that children’s titles are holding, particularly in contrast to other segments of the book market. “Compared to the adult market, the kids market is quite strong,” said McLean. “That’s great news for everyone at Children’s Institute.”

McLean has two decades of experience in the book publishing industry and currently serves as co-chair of Nielsen’s Children’s Book Summit and editor of the Nielsen survey “Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age.” She was previously executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children, which merged with ABA under her leadership.

Children’s publishing is currently seeing double-digit growth, driven in part by the amount of consumer power that children control in today’s market, said McLean. In surveys of parents with children aged 0 to 12, the response “my child asked for it” has seen immense gains. “Parents are paying a lot of attention to what kids are asking for, and books are seen as a high-value purchase,” said McLean. “I think the sheer strength of consumer power means the children’s market is going to stay strong.” 

McLean’s talk at Children’s Institute will break down the many categories within the children’s book market that are seeing sizable growth, notably new and classic board books and children’s nonfiction, a rise that McLean said is partly driven by Common Core initiatives. Certain lifestyle categories, such as gaming, cooking, and DIY, are also contributing to that growth, she said, because “children are watching lots of interesting content with their parents, and that’s driving interest.”

E-books are also making strides in the children’s market, though parental preference remains with print books. “Parents seem to be comfortable with their kids using devices for gaming, but they want them to return to print books for reading. In my opinion, print is going to remain important and bookstores are going to remain important,” McLean said.

“The U.S. Children’s Book Market — Where We Are and Where We’re Going” will be presented on Tuesday, April 21, in the California Ballroom at the Hilton Pasadena. See the full Children’s Institute program here.