Skip to content

Children's Book Week figures drop, but KVB Boekwerk likes to tell it otherwise.

"Sales of children's books during Children's Book Week edition 2023 are higher than in 2019, 2020 and 2021. This applies to both sales through physical shops and e-commerce." KVB-Boekwerk, the research institute of Dutch Booksellers, has been publishing trend reports on the book market for a few years now. This year, for the first time, these include figures on sales of children's books, especially during Children's Book Week. There's something funny about that.

Anyone who has followed Culture Press a little, over the past few years, knows that we make a hobby of publishing annual figures of industry organisations and ministries. We do this because those institutions usually turn it into a celebration of optimistic cheerfulness. Vendors' PR departments are allowed that, but it always gets a bit tricky when six months later those same optimistic figures are deployed to indicate that it is deep crisis in the industry. Every time we predict that here it results in angry e-mails, and the Museum Association has therefore even declared a boycott of Culture Press.

Whether KVB Boekwerk will do so this year? At best, people will say again that we have drowned in a tub of acid here. Because yes, the figures are not as rosy as the industry would have you believe. Let us add this sentence: "Sales of children's books during the Children's Book Week edition 2023 are higher than in 2019, 2020 and 2021. This applies to both sales through physical shops and e-commerce." The good reader will see that one year has been left out, namely 2022. That was a year with a fine continuing positive trend compared to previous years. This year, sales are considerably lower than last year, but still higher than those years before.

trend figures children's book week

Why do annuals do that? Good question, to which the answer is especially important internally. There is a persistent misconception in marketing land that negative news is bad for sales. THERE is some truth in that, people prefer to spend money on rich companies because wealth breeds confidence. Robin Hood is turning in his grave.

So news that book sales are falling is bad news and that scares away buyers. But then again, doing it so openly strikes me as naive. After all, it is important news that the positive trend that emerged during Corona (because that is what it is about) does not seem to have continued after Corona. Reason enough for moments of introspection and research: why did more people buy children's books during children's book week when the Netherlands was groaning under the pandemic. Was it because children had to stay home en masse?

I hope that at the seminar on 25 January 2024, the industry will come up with answers. Because those answers will determine how future generations can continue to enjoy books.

Appreciate this article!

Happy with this story? Show your appreciation with a small contribution! That's how you help keep independent cultural journalism alive. (If you don't see a button below, use this link: donation!)

Donate smoothly
Donate

Why donate?

We are convinced that good investigative journalism and expert background information are essential for a healthy cultural sector. There is not always space and time for that. Culture Press does want to provide that space and time, and keep it accessible to everyone for FREE! Whether you are rich, or poor. Thanks to donations From readers like you, we can continue to exist. This is how Culture Press has existed since 2009!

You can also become a member, then turn your one-off donation into lasting support!

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

Small Membership
175 / 12 Maanden
Especially for organisations with a turnover or grant of less than 250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
5 trial newsletter subscriptions
All our podcasts
Have your say on our policies
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Posting press releases yourself
Own mastodon account on our instance
Large Membership
360 / Jaar
Voor culturele organisaties
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
10 trial newsletter subscriptions
All our podcasts
Participate
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Posting press releases yourself
Own mastodon account on our instance
Collaboration
Private Membership
50 / Jaar
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Have your say on our policies
Insight into finances
Exclusive archives
Own mastodon account on our instance
en_GBEnglish (UK)