Nowadays, it is easy to believe that children favor digital reading because of the numerous devices available in the market—smartphones, tablets, e-readers.
Also, those beliefs might be based on certain data published in the past. A decade ago the number of children’s-only bookstores in the U.S. decreased sharply, reaching fewer than 100.
But that number seems to be going in another direction. A recent Publishers Weekly’s article remarks that “some industry watchers say we’re now living in the golden age of children’s books, and given strong sales in the category, children’s specialty stores are starting to reemerge.”
New children’s bookstores are emerging all over the US: from small towns such as Middlebury (VT), to big cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
Most of the owners interviewed by Publisher Weekly agreed that having a bookstore was a personal dream, but they were also inspired by needs existing in their communities.
Maggie Pouncey, co-founder and co-owner of “Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab” in Brooklyn, NY, said: “I truly believe we’re in a golden age of children’s literature and celebrating that in a children’s bookshop became a more and more urgent dream for me.”
Celene Navarette, co-owner of “La Librería” in Los Angeles, said: “We could not believe that a city with five million Spanish speakers and growing numbers of schools offering bilingual programs did not have much wider and better access to the rich literary traditions of Latin America and Spain.”
Everything seems to indicate that they are going to have audience, and not in small quantity. Unit sales of children’s books reached an all-time high of 225.5 million in 2014, an increase of 12.8 percent over 2013, according to Nielsen.
During last Nielsen Children’s Book Summit* held in NY in 2015, Kristen McLean, director of new business development for Nielsen Book, said that “about 60 percent of children’s book sales are taking place in bricks-and-mortar stores, and the independent bookstore market in particular has remained stable.”
*The Nielsen Children’s Book Summit 2016 will be held on October 27 in NY, under the slogan “The Kid Economy: Empowerment, Technology, and the Future of Story.”
Photo Credit: Publishers Weekly.
- The Return of the Children’s Specialty Bookstore
- Nielsen Summit Shows the Data Behind the Children’s Book Boom
American Booksellers Association
Association of American Publishers (AAA)