World Book Day (WBD) director Kirsten Grant right has praised this year’s “phenomenal” event, which saw children’s book sales rise by 24.7% in WBD week, despite sales of the £1 WBD titles falling by 5.8% year on year.
According to Nielsen BookScan, volume sales of the 10 WBD titles totalled 789,738 units during the seven-week period around the event (14th February–2nd April), a 5.8% decrease from the 837,950 sales recorded last year.
However, the children’s book market in general increased week on week by 24.7%, to £7.1m, in the week of WBD (ending 5th March 2016). This increase was bigger than the one posted in WBD week in 2015, when sales of kids’ books increased week on week by 23.6%.
Grant said the rise was down to the popularity of World Book Day as a cultural event. “Every year we see a steady redemption rate in the tokens [given out to schoolchildren to buy £1 titles] but the market is increasing year on year. Lots of people are going to bookshops and even if they don’t redeem tokens they still buy books.”
She added that the drop in sales of the £1 books may be due to lower sales of this year’s teen title, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan Children’s Books), which sold 36,822 copies, compared to last year’s teen author Holly Smale,whose WBD title sold more than 60,000 copies.
The most popular title this year was Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space by Cavan Scott (Egmont), which sold 115,645 copies over the seven-week period.
Grant said other highlights of this year’s campaign included a Guinness World Record for the number of people (11,828) taking part in a simultaneous book quiz, as well as a World Book Day postmark that was introduced by the Royal Mail, which she described as a “huge coup”.
She also pointed out that all of the UK’s major retailers took part this year—including Sainsbury’s for the first time—and that there was a large increase in the number of mentions the event had on social media: the #worldbookday hashtag trended on Twitter in 48 countries, gathering 91 million impressions and 450,000 tweets.