Children's book sales hold up

Children's publishers who gathered at this year's Bookseller Children's Conference were upbeat. While the total publishing market has seen a 6% decline in sales so far this year, the children's market continues to defy the recession and even saw a slight rise in sales.

Total sales for printed books to the middle of August this year were 790m, down some 15% on five years ago and 6% down from 2011.

Children's sales, by contrast, are up year on year although by a slim 0.2%. To August this year, children's sales were valued at 169m.

Within that are some real success stories. Julia Donaldson's sales so far this year have reached 6m while Suzanne Collins' sales for the Hunger Games series are over 9.6m. War Horse has also sold more than 300,000 copies this year, also on the back of a film, and a debut series for 6+ girls, Secret Kingdom, has sold 44,000 copies - not bad for a debut.

Dystopian books have overtaken dark romance as the leading genre for teen readers, with the top 15 dystopian book sales valued at 12m, although the top 10 dark romance books have sold 3.3m, so that genre is staying healthy.

Among this year's bestselling authors, apart from Susanne Collins' 9.6m and Julia Donaldon's 6m, are David Walliams with 2.5m, Jeff Kinney with 4m, Jacqueline Wilson with 3.4m, Michael Morpurgo with 3.4m, and Roald Dahl with 2m sales this year.

However, it's worth remembering that most children's authors' income remain very modest and nowhere near these figures.

11/10/2012Children's book sales hold up
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