Evaluation shows mixed picture for World Book Day 2010
09.06.10 | Benedicte Page


Adult fiction volume sales during the World Book Day week rose by 3%, boosted by the inaugural ‘Buy One Give One Free’ initiative, according to an evaluation prepared by Book Marketing Limited and Nielsen BookScan. But sales of the WBD titles were down, while library participation dropped by a fifth.

Overall sales of the World Book Day £1 books were down 13.5% year on year, selling 624,285 in the seven week WBD period (week beginning 8th February to week beginning 22nd March inclusive), compared with 722,000 in 2009.

However the evaluation concluded that WBD contributed to maintaining the children’s book market volume through the seven-week period, with the children’s market down just 2.8% as against a 5.6% drop across all books in the Total Consumer Market.

During the World Book Day week itself, which runs from 1st March, adult fiction sales rose to 1.38m from 1.35m. No figures for the value of sales were given.

Retailer numbers were steady with 3,000 stores, as participation by Mothercare made up for the loss of Borders and Hughes & Hughes. However library participation dropped a full 22% to 78%, with the retail focus of this year’s campaign thought to be a factor.

WBD chair Victoria Barnsley said: “This year World Book Day had a higher profile than ever before, generating more column inches in both print and online media. The £1 books boosted the children’s market by nearly a third in just one week, helping to buck the current general downward trend of the TCM.”

She added: “I was particularly pleased with two major new initiatives this year – the adult books Buy One Give one Free campaign meant that Book Day offered something to everyone, and more than a million children heard their favourite authors in the new Read to a Million Kids storytelling campaign. They were both great success stories.”

Penguin General m.d. Joanna Prior has been appointed vice chair for 2011, supporting incoming chair Rachel Russell, business unit director for books at W H Smith.

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