With 63 million units sold, licensed books accounted for 28% of all US children’s book sales in 2017, according to new data from market research firm The NPD Group. In comparison, licensed books accounted for 12% of all books sold in the US in 2017 (reaching 85 million units).
Dr. Seuss was the leading IP of 2017, followed by James Patterson, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Star Wars. The Walt Disney Company was the top license owner in the category, with Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Abrams and Nickelodeon/Viacom rounding out the top five. The leading publishers of 2017, meanwhile, were Penguin Random House, Walt Disney Company, Scholastic, Hachette Book Group and HarperCollins.
NPD tracks 4,000 licenses spanning 16 million weekly book sales in the US through its NPD BookScan License Reporting Service, which covers approximately 85% of all print books sold in the US through direct reporting from major retailers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Walmart and Target. Licensed offerings include books featuring characters from movies, TV shows, games, toys and YouTube channels.
The success of licensed books falls in line with an overall print-based sales surge in children’s publishing. US kids print book sales have grown faster than the total print book market in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% since 2013 (compared to 2.8% in the overall print book market).
Confidence in comics and graphic novels is also at an all-time high. According to NPD Book, the kids comics and graphic novels segments grew by 24% in 2016, to the tune of US$4.87 million. The segment has grown at a compound annual rate of 25% since 2013, including juvenile fiction, juvenile non-fiction and young adult formats.