Vying for Attention
Chronicle Books has seen a steady increase in sales the last several years, according to Boral. “Our children’s business is up year-over-year, and we just had our biggest August in the last seven years, which was no small feat,” he says. “Titles that are doing exceptionally well and surpassing expectations include ‘Wave’ by Suzy Lee and ‘Little Hoot’ by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. These are both examples of distinctive publishing being embraced by retailers and consumers alike.”
According to Norris, publishers releasing book series are taking advantage of a great opportunity. “Series books are just getting bigger and bigger, and authors who have built up their brand names over time are almost always sure hits,” he says.
Candlewick Press reports that its series are, in fact, doing quite well for the company, including its “Judy Moody” series, its “Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies” pop-up series, and its “Ology” series, which includes the new “Monsterology” and “Spyology,” which will be published in November. In addition, Candlewick published “Where’s Waldo: The Ultimate Travel Collection” this spring in paperback with gatefolds and a page-saving band. “It feels very fresh, and the new format aged up Waldo a bit for his nostalgic fan base,” says Emanuel. “Our aim is to take all this excitement and make something of it—it’s a fun way to find growth and increase our market share.”
HarperCollins is finding that its most successful series are those focusing on specific main characters. “The major trends are focused on specific characters, like our ‘Fancy Nancy’ series at the picture-book level, which is aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds, and at the tween reader (ages 8 to 12) with series like ‘Warriors,’ and for the teen reader, … series like ‘Pretty Little Liars,’” says Katz.
Of course, Scholastic has learned that a series can turn into a craze among children as well as adults. “Last year, we published the seventh and final book in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, which was a record-setting success,” says Ellie Berger, president, Scholastic Trade. “‘Harry Potter’ is now a classic for us with new young readers ready to start their Hogwarts journey every year.”