Research Outline

Children's Books Sales


To identify children's books sales by retailer and by publisher in the US.

Early Findings

  • In 2018, the US children's book publishing revenue amounted to $2.95 billion.
  • "In 2018, sales of children’s categories for print books increased by 0.2%, with the highest growth in the holidays/festivals/religion; social situations/family/health; and education/reference/language categories."
  • Backlist books made up 73.1% book sales volume in 2018. Children’s book sales are more backlist-driven than the overall market.
  • In 2018, "nearly 50% of children’s backlist titles sold were picture books, and close to 1 in 3 was a licensed property (top-selling licensed brands were A Wrinkle in Time, Dr. Seuss, Very Hungry Caterpillar, Disney Princess, and Dungeons and Dragons). "
  • In the first quarter of 2019, the total children’s book market declined by 10%.

Children and Young Adult Books

  • In 2019, the Children and Young Adult category reached $197.1 million in revenues.
  • In 2019, "publisher net revenue for Trade, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., came in at $661.2 million". Children’s/YA Books represent 29.8% of all reported Trade revenue.
  • Children’s and young adult "non-fiction revenues grew 38.5% from 2014 to 2018. Unit sales for children’s and young adult non-fiction grew to 17.8%, over the same five-year period."
  • In 2018, "publisher revenue for children’s and young adult fiction was $3.72 billion and non-fiction was around $730 million.


  • For the initial hour, we tried identifying as much of the requested information as possible. We were mainly able to identify the revenue of children's books publishing in the US. We also found insights on revenues for children's fiction and non-fiction books, however, revenues were usually combined with revenues from Young Adult books and a breakdown for just children's books did not appear immediately available.
  • Additionally, a breakdown of children's book sales by publisher and/or retailer in the US did not appear immediately available in this search.
  • The Association of American Publishers (AAP) tracks publisher net revenue (including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, and online retailers) of about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time. Some of their reports are available for purchase.
  • In the course of our research, we came across additional insights and statistics on the children's book industry and the revenues of US publishers, which might also be of interest.
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