Published on www.publishersweekly.com.
Yesterday was the first Children’s Institute at BEA and it got off to a rousing start with the Children’s Breakfast. I love the breakfasts, although I found it a little hard to get out of in bed in time for the actual meal because of the fun had the night before at two very entertaining publisher parties. (I will say the Penguin party at the Top of the Standard afforded attendees stunning views of New York City; the Little, Brown Speakeasy for Libba Bray was glorious. Libba, who has a wonderful, bluesy voice, treated us to a five-song set. And there was something very clever about having our drinks in coffee cups a la prohibition).
After the breakfast I went to the Bowker session about Children’s Digital Media. Kelly Gallagher, from Bowker led us through 40 minutes of slides about the latest breakdowns about kids’ books and digital content. I found the presentation interesting and heartening. The news about children’s books and ebooks is not as bleak as the rest of the industry. Yes, there is explosive growth in the adult market, but kids’ books are very much lagging behind. The really good news for children’s bookstores is that the large percentage of purchases made by adults for kids from 0-6 are from browsing and seeing things that catch their eye. Interestingly, kids from 7-12 often come in ready to choose their own books. One thing I found fascinating was the number one reason coming into a store for making a purchase was seeking a specific character or series, which is a huge motivating factor for kids purchasing a book. The next thing that motivated a purchase was illustrations. That delighted to me to the core.