Publishers must engage with children's book buyers

Publishers must engage with children's book buyers

The recommendations of friends was the top driver behind children's discovery of new titles, according to Bowker Market Research's report, with 43% mentioning that as a main factor. 

Discovery through school came second, at 40%, with bookshops third at 35%. Also edging over 30% were public libraries (32%), ahead of supermarkets (28%), parents (26%) and TV/film adaptations (24%).

However, the sources of discovery vary with the child's age, with friends the top ranked reason for 11–13 year olds and 14–17 year olds, with bookshops and libraries becoming less important with age.

Familiarity and durability were also drivers behind book choices, with respondees naming the fact that a child likes a character as the top reason to purchase a title, followed by child request and the likelihood the child would want to re-read the title.

Stephanie Barton, who compiled the executive summary of the research, said: "The report highlights the impact and importance of the connective tissue that runs between the child as influencer and end-user, and the parent as influencer and purchaser. Publishers need to facilitate this relationship. In broad terms, as the child gets older we have a purse-keeper more and more willing to buy, coupled to an end user less and less inclined to read . . . It would seem that engagement with schools at a local and national level is key for pre-school and primary aged children and with teens themselves thereafter." 

The Understanding the Children's Book Consumer survey involved a sample of more than 2,000 children or their parents, conducted in May 2012. For more information about the survey or to access the findings, contact