Simon & Schuster Children’s Books is predicting this Christmas and Boxing Day will be “the biggest ever” for digital downloads of illustrated titles, with the publisher set to focus its attention on digital and international growth next year.
S&S has achieved double-digit sales growth in its children’s titles year on year in 2012, according to the company, with big hitters including its first Philippa Gregory young adult novel, the first in the Darren Shan Zom-B series, and its “biggest first week sale ever” (5,631 copies through Nielsen BookScan’s TCM, plus undisclosed digital sales) for Finale, the new Becca Fitzpatrick novel released in October.
James Horobin, group sales and marketing director said: “We have enjoyed much success over the past few years and we now need to grow our brands further and develop our list on both a UK and international scale.” Laura Hough was recently hired from Random House Children’s Books as children’s sales director.
The plans include upping the marketing spend in India and Australia to grow big brand names including Gregory and Sophie McKenzie, who has written her first adult novel for S&S called Close My Eyes, to be published in May next year. Executive director at S&S Kerr MacRae said: “We are in our second year of S&S India and as our position grows, that will be an area of growth for us in children’s. The same is true for the Australian market.”
Another focus for the children’s department in 2013 is to sign “new adult” titles in conjunction with its American sister company. The term “new adult” literature has recently been coined to describe college romances aimed at a crossover readership.
Horobin said the children’s list in 2013 would also attract a lot of digital investment following the release of multiple tablet devices onto the market.