One in Four 2018 Children’s Books in the U.S. Featured a Licensed Property, The NPD Group Says

Licensed books also comprised 12 percent of total book sales in the United States

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., February 12, 2019 – Licensed books, featuring popular characters from movies, TV, games, toys and lifestyle brands, made up 12 percent of total sales and 26 percent of juvenile sales in the U.S., market in 2018, according to global information company The NPD Group. Licensing occurs when a book publisher has paid the original intellectual property owner for the right to publish the character or property in book form.

“Licensing is a crucial segment of the book publishing business, especially where kids are concerned,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD.  “In today’s connected world, kids will follow their favorite characters across many types of media, and in a noisy shopping environment, a familiar character is often an easy pick for both parents and kids looking for the next book purchase.”

Six out of the top 10 fastest growing licenses for 2018 were kids’ licenses:  

Traditionally, books have been a fertile source for film and TV properties. However, now licensing is just as likely to happen in the other direction. “By bringing popular licenses from other platforms into books, license owners can more easily and cost-effectively extend their branding into another high-value format,” McLean said. “We’re already seeing some very interesting examples of licensed books coming from toys, video games, lifestyle brands, and other non-traditional sources. We expect this category will continue to expand, with all kinds of interesting and creative book licenses derived from a much wider content universe.”

The NPD BookScan License Reporting Service tracks approximately 4,000 licenses across more than 16 million weekly book sales in the U.S.  It delivers offline weekly reporting on sales of all licensed books across all publishers in the BookScan point-of-sale (POS) system. Weekly reports include item-level sales for the top 100 geographic markets in the U.S.


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