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Print book sales recover, while children's leads the way

29 September 2014

The book trade internationally does seem to have turned the corner after a difficult few years when a major format change at the same time as a deep global recession turned everything upside down.

Things are definitely looking up and it's in bookshops that this resurgence is most notable, not everywhere but in a significant number of countries internationally. There have been similar increases in volume sales of around 2.5% in the US, India and Australia, and Germany also is rallying.

Bookshops are working out new ways of surviving, with a focus on events, local authors, school supply and so on. No doubt the fallout will continue but in the UK and US there are definite signs of more bookshops surviving and is the online competitors to Amazon who are having a hard time.

It is strong sales in the children's market which are fuelling international growth. The recovery in print sales is led by children's books, and surprisingly perhaps young people seem to prefer print to ebooks. In addition to this the children's sector has seen only slow growth in ebook sales, possibly at least in part because parents prefer to buy print books for their children.

In the US the increase in sales of children's books has shown a spectacular jump of 12.3%, while adult non-fiction has remained flat and adult fiction has shrunk by 11%. Nine out of the top ten titles over the year are children's books. The children's sector is robust, growing well and has excellent prospects across the world, with big increases in the number of children in many countries and the expectation that educational requirements will create an ongoing market, even if formats should change and new developments create new formats.

Stories will always be wanted, content will continue to be king. And whether the books are published in one format or another, or come from big publishers, small presses or indie authors self-publishing their own work, it is reassuring to know that readers will continue to reach for them.