Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Let’s Talk Numbers, Shall We?

No, no. Don't groan. These are interesting numbers. Besides, I have to admit to being left-brained sometimes and every once in awhile I just have to give in to the urge.

There was a Publisher’s Weekly article talking about the children's best selling titles and numbers making the rounds a week ago. First of all, I have to say how thrilled I am that this information is out there. Knowledge is power and so often these kinds of numbers and data are kept from the working writer, so it pleases me no end to find them here on the web for all to see. I also found it was highly informative.

The list is broken down into Hardback Sales, frontlist and backlist, then Paperback Sales, frontlist and backlist. (For those who don’t know, frontlist titles are the titles that are new that year, and backlist were published in previous years.)

One of the things I found most fascinating was that of the 217 hardback bestsellers listed, only about 26 of them were middle grade! This shocked me because the middle grade years (ages 8-12) are supposed to be the golden years of reading.

Of the nearly 300 paperbacks, only 70 of them were middle grade. Another shocker when you consider that those include the movie tie ins, etc.

Even sadder? Only about four of all the titles were historical; two of the LUXE books by Anna Godberson, one of the Ranger's Apprentice books (more fantasy, really) and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Very sad showing there... ::sniff::

It was also very enlightening for me to see what publishers were putting out the bestsellers. By an overwhelming margin, it was the Big Publishers who produced the Big Sellers. (I did the math, so you won't have to.*)

Random House 116
HarperCollins 70
Disney/Hyperion 62
S&S/Simon 57
Little Brown 37
Scholastic 35
Golden Books 22
St. Martins 14
Candlewick 11
Houghton Mifflin 8
Razorbill 5
Abrams 5
Chronicle 4
Philomel 4
Knopf 4
Puffin 3
Delacorte 3
Holt 3
Dutton 2
Dial 1

And so I thought I would share the information with you. What can I say? My father was an accountant; it must be in my DNA.


*Fuzzy, ballpark kind of math.

8 comments:

Vonna said...

Interesting breakdown. Thanks for doing the math.

beckylevine.com said...

Wow--that's telling, somehow! Especially that part about the bestsellers--I'd love to know the why/how behind that!

My father was a veterinarian and gardener, and you won't catch me planting flowers OR looking down a dog's throat! :)

Robin L said...

Glad you guys found it interesting, too!

Becky, I agree that the bestsilling stuff is especially intriguing. My guess is that it takes a big financial commitment to make bestsellers, co-ops, displays, tons of arcs, etc., and so the deeper pocketed corporations have more resources to put into it. Or I could be all wet. That's my best guess, though.

And uh yeah, you wouldn't catch me looking down an animal's throat either, no matter what my dad did! :-)

Robin L said...

Okay, that would be bestsElling, not bestsilling, although the latter has a catchy ring to it and does describe a few of the titles...

alwayserin said...

Random House 145
HarperCollins 70
Taking your numbers and collapsing further so all imprints are folded into their parent corporations

Random House 145
HarperCollins 70
Disney/Hyperion 62
S&S/Simon 57
Little Brown 37
Scholastic 35
Macmillan 17
Penguin 14
Candlewick 11
Houghton Mifflin 8
Abrams 5
Chronicle 4

If you watch the adult bestseller lists, too (Publishers Lunch does totals now and then), Random House is the clear leader on that site of the biz as well.

alwayserin said...

Whoops--sorry for that glitch--didn't mean to list Random House and HarperCollins at the top of that comment!

alwayserin said...

And "side" of the biz, not "site," jeez, time for me to get off the computer obviously!

Kristopher and Crew said...

I love this post! Thanks for the data downloads... It's hard to find info on MG a lot of the time.