Children's book sales soar in spring half-term break

Children's book sales soar in spring half-term break

Sales of children's books rocketed 30% week-on-week as the spring half-term break resulted in a bookshop boon.

Michael Morpurgo's War Horse (Egmont) was comfortably the bestselling children's title in the week ending 18th February, selling 22,400 copies across all print editions. Sales of the novel, the adaptation of which is currently airing at UK cinemas, jumped 5% week-on-week, but there were much bigger boosts for the likes of The Moshi Monsters Moshling Collector's Guide (Sunbird); Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Puffin); Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (Scholastic); Jacqueline Wilson's Lily Alone (Yearling); and Cressida Cowell's How to Steal a Dragon's Sword (Hodder), all of which saw their sales soar by 50% or more.

There were also big boosts for a number of museum guidebooks, including the Imperial War Museum London Guide (up 285%); the Natural History Museum Souvenir Guide (up 320%); and the children's-orientated Natural History Museum Dinosaur Sticker Book (up 205%).

The bestselling book in the UK last week, though, was Jennifer Worth's Call the Midwife (Phoenix), which sold 25,200 copies across all print editions. The TV tie-in edition to the BBC adaptation, which drew to a close on Sunday with an audience of more than nine million, tops the Official UK Top 50 for a second week with sales of 22,468 copies. In total, £179,000 was spent on Worth's books last week, up 25% week on week, and up 2,300% year on year.

S J Watson's Before I Go to Sleep (Black Swan) takes second position in the Official UK Top 50, while Katie Fforde's Summer of Love (Arrow), W H Smith's half-price “book of the week” last week on top of a £2.99-only deal at Tesco, takes third place.

For the second time this year, Transworld scores double fiction number ones. Before I Go to Sleep tops the Top 20 Mass-market Fiction chart for a seventh week, while Madeleine Wickham (as Sophie Kinsella) is the new number one in Original Fiction. I've Got Your Number (Bantam Press), her first non-Shopaholic novel since 2009's Twenties Girl, sold 10,269 copies in in its first week on shelves last week, helped by a half-price “deal of the week” spot at W H Smith and a better-than-half-price “deal of the week” spot at

In total, £25.8m was spent on printed books at UK book retail outlets last week—up 6.2% on the previous week but down 7% on the same week last year. Children's book sales were up 20% year on year courtesy of the half-term break falling a week earlier this year, but the paperback fiction sector continues to slump in the digital age. Sales were down 30% year on year last week, Nielsen BookScan top 5,000 data reports.