Saturday, March 21, 2009

Market for childrens' books

Bestsellers in any category are what make publishing profitable. But childrens' books must be very special, because a bestseller can have high sales for a long time, as new generations of the target audience are born. I've always thought that this must be especially true for those books made of thick cardboard, suitable for chewing on as well as reading, since each new reader needs a new copy (chewing cuts down on the used book/hand me down market). But I hadn't guessed just how big the revenue stream is.

Both of my children enjoyed "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," which celebrates its 40th birthday this week: Happy birthday, hungry caterpillar!

" 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' who eats his way through the book, leaving a trail of holes behind, has sold 29 million copies and has licensing deals, Newsweek reports, of $50 million annually. With the money, Carle established the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass.; its exhibits have celebrated works by Dorothy Kunhardt ("Pat the Bunny"), Arnold Lobel ("Frog and Toad") and Maurice Sendak ("Where the Wild Things Are"). "

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