A mood of optimism marked the Bookseller Children’s Conference, with sales up 10% and editors pronouncing themselves keen to experiment and push the digital envelope
The Purcell Room on London’s South Bank was awash with positivity on Thursday, as the Bookseller Children’s Conference celebrated a section of the books industry where everything is rosy. If current trends continue, said the magazine’s charts and data analyst, John Lewis, this year is set to become the best year for children’s books since records began. Sales in children’s and YA publishing are up 10% in 2014 – an extraordinary performance against the backdrop of a market that is down 2% overall. And it’s not just about new titles. The backlist is making a particularly strong showing in both picture books and children’s fiction, with five of the current top 10 bestselling picture books dating from pre-2011 – including Judith Kerr’s 46-year-old classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
Adding to the sense of celebration, Bookseller children’s editor Charlotte Eyre and publisher Nigel Roby also announced the launch of the Bookseller YA book prize, for which any young adult titles by authors living in the UK or Ireland and published in 2014 will be eligible. (Full disclosure: I’ve been asked to be one of the judges, and have been emitting a thin, gleeful squeal ever since.)