CLICK on KIDS: APA Children’s Digital Publishing Seminar

APA CLICKonKIDSThe Australian Publishers Association put on another great Industry Seminar with CLICK on KIDS: Children’s Digital Publishing Seminar.

You can see the entire outline here but on this post I am featuring the presentation by Kristen McLean.

I was particularly interested in the use of digital for educational purposes and will showcase some great examples of transmedia and augmented reality on my next post.


You may enjoy reading tweets from the day  that I Storified.

Insights from the US: sizing up the kids’ book market

This enlightening session was presented by Kristen McLean, Founder and CEO BookigeeA quick look at Kristen’s background will soon show what a great addition she was to the children’s digital publishing seminar.  Of particular interest to the seminar subject was her involvement and knowledge of Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age research by Bowker Pubtrack. This consumer study of children’s book market is conducted biannually. You can find the slideshare of Kristen’s presentation embedded below or click through to it hereNOTE: This slideshare is only up until 23 August 2013.

Five Key Trends

There are five key trends the research is looking at this year, with explanations in brackets.

  1. Rise of the empowered author (more options to  publish, taking back their own content);
  2. Rise of the empowered consumer (more options to price check and buy);
  3. Rise of the empowered child (They seem to be driving more purchasing decisions);
  4. New patterns for content emergence (Kristen used the example of Wattpad – a global writing community that has the potential to grow up into a huge force)
  5. The rise of mobile devices (smartphones and iPads etc)

Baseline Findings From Previous Surveys

  • The children’s market is very stable;
  • Changes are incremental, not exponential;
  • Kids are omnivorous media consumers (in the US books are only traditional media that have not lost time to screen time. “Reading in the US market is doing fine.” Kristen said);
  • Highly local influences on decision-making. (Why buy that book? Because the child asked for that particular book);
  • Children aged 7-12 year old are a very clear consumer force;
  • Teen ebook adoption does not align with sales. (More on this below)
  • Girls outpacing boys in media use – except gaming, where boys outpace girls.

Key Findings Wave Five – Spring 2013

  • Mobile having an impact;
  • Consumers making more buying decisions without input (This has been seen in last few waves);
  • Girls are getting earlier access to devices than boys;
  • Hardcover is losing ground against paperback;
  • Book related online behaviour in decline;
  • Teens are reading less for pleasure;
  • Although teen ebook attitudes are improving, this is not translating to adoption.
  • People are making more decisions on own.

Publishers are keen to understand how to influence purchasing decisions. So far the online experience has not replicated the browsing experience of a great bookstore. It’s a real quandary for publishers who have yet to really work out the solution of the issue of discoverability of books.

Who is buying young adult books?

More than 89% of the market for teen books are not teenagers! This stat didn’t surprise me as I’m pretty open about my love of YA but interesting to see I’m not alone!

This stat came to light as the genre was showing high rate of ebook purchasing – as high as romance and we all know this is a sector that embraced ebooks earlier than others.  Research on teens and ebooks has indicated they still preferred printed books so this stream of buyers for YA brings up an interesting problem. What does it mean if most of your purchasers for teen books are NOT teen? How do you find them, market to them and influence their purchasing decisions?

I think my own love of YA is based on a few reasons. I was particularly fond of the children’s publishing team when I worked at Random House Australia and so took a great interest in their authors. I became ’emotionally involved’ with a few series and continued to read them after I left. I like the energy in YA writing. I have a few author friends who write in this area and I enjoy their writing and like to support their work.

I missed the Digital Chat the next day called ‘Moving the Dial: The Future of Publishing’ but Kristen has kindly uploaded her slideshare of that day as well. It is embedded below or you can view it here.


If you are an adult, do you read young adult – and why? Did any of the information from the Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age surprise you?

I’ll hopefully be posting more from the seminar midweek! (Now live in this post)

You may also be interested in:

The Delights of Digital-only title by HarperCollins Australia featuring Cranium Universe by Reg Mombassa

Laylar – Augmented Reality Mobile Technology 

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