While the Children's market as a whole has plateaued in value since leaping 7% in 2016, with the full-year for 2017 posting a razor-thin 0.07% in growth, the Children's Non-Fiction category is booming in 2018. As will be revealed at the Bookseller Children's Conference 2018, the Non-Fiction category has sold 3.75 million books for £24.7m for 2018 to date (up to 18th August), an 8.5% boost in volume and a 10.2% jump in volume on the same period in 2017. This is against a more muted showing for the market as a whole, which has inched up 0.71% in value on 2017, and fallen by 0.4% in volume.
The sub-category Children's General Interest & Leisure, which nearly doubled in value to hit record highs in the Minecraft year of 2014 only to suffer a swift drop in the years following, has now recovered, inching up in value by 0.4% in 2017 to maintain around £14.6m brought in for a second year running. Due to a strong showing from this year's non-fiction World Book Day titles, Marvel Avengers The Greatest Heroes (DK Children's) and Nadiya Hussain's Bake Me a Story (Hodder Children's), volume for the year to date has rocketed 9%, with value dropping 0.9%. No other sub-category has seen a rise in volume and a drop in value. Another emerging hit—perhaps taking over from the hoard of Pokemon-related titles that have dominated the kids' non-fiction charts since Pokemon Go launched in 2016—is Fortnite Battle Royale: Beginner's Guide (Templar), which has sold 25,924 copies since the end of May.
However, the real driver of the Children's Non-Fiction growth is the Children's General Non-Fiction category. While Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo's blockbuster Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (Particular) and its sequel have sold a combined 390,201 copies since spring 2017, earning £5m, both are coded as adult non-fiction titles and therefore have no direct effect on the Children's market. But indirectly, their effect has been seismic—Ben Brooks and Quinton Winter's male equivalent Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different (Quercus) went straight into the Children's number one spot upon its release, and has sold 48,738 copies since. Kate Pankhurst's Fantastically Great Women series (Bloomsbury Children's), including Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed History, have sold a combined 92,634 copies since the start of 2018. These Rebel Girls-alikes have helped boost the Children's General Non-Fiction category to a 30% boost in volume and a 31% jump in value against 2017.
The category's number one of the year to date, though, is Matthew Syed's You Are Awesome (Wren & Rook). The Times journalist has achieved previous success with his adult titles about... achieveing success, Bounce and Black Box Thinking, but his first kids' title, teaching children self-worth, seems to have struck a chord, with 68,752 copies sold so far and two weeks as Children's number one.
Elsewhere, while the Pre-School and Picture Books category maintained a steady volume growth of 0.7% on 2017, with value rising 2.6%, Children's and YA Fiction dropped 5% in both volume and value, after stunning growth of 34% in value between 2013 and 2017. However, Children's Fiction managed a steady 0.05% growth on 2017, despite strong sales for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child paperback last year—but couldn't make up for YA Fiction's 22% crash. The sector suffered against the boost for Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything, adapted into a film in 2017. Children's Fiction is still the jewel in the market's crown, accounting for over a third of the category's total value for the year to date.
Also covered in the Trends in UK Book Sales presentation at the Children's Conference will be the bestselling Children's authors of the year for each category, how World Book Day 2018 fared against its 20th anniversary year in 2017, and the year's predicted total.
Tickets for the conference can be booked here.