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CHILDREN’S BOOKS Page earners


With many classic children’s books celebrating milestone birthdays this year, Robert Hutchins explores how toy retailers can make the most of this lucrative market


ONCE UPON a time, we were all children. So whether it was a book of fairy tales, Paddington Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar or even the Harry Potter series, we all remember our favourite childhood book. This year alone sees The Very Hungry Caterpillar turn 45, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt turn 25 and Peter Rabbit enter it’s 111th year, marking the milestones with new licensed toys and games.


Usborne Publishing is urging toy retailers to embrace children’s books this year, as the firm readies to launch its latest collection, the Holiday Activity Pack. Landing on shelves this


April, the Activity Pack features four different books in a carry case, engaging kids with three activity books including Holiday Doodlingand Colouring; Holiday Puzzles and Travel Doodling and Colouringalongside a Sticker Book with over 200 stickers. The Holiday Activity Packjoins Usborne’s


www.toynews-online.biz


And the popularity of


children’s books continues to grow ever stronger. As March welcomes Book


Week 2014 - an event aimed at encouraging kids to engage with stories and book characters through events and dress up - is now the perfect time for toy retailers to look at toy and book cross merchandising a little closer? Marketing and publicity


manager at Usborne Publishing, Anna Howorth thinks it is, and has


USBORNE PUBLISHING


portfolio of popular titles like the Sticker Dolly Dressingseries and the book and toy hybrid, The Wind Up Bus. Featuring cardboard


pages and a red wind up bus, the book opens out to reveal individual maps of areas of London. The bus can navigate the


roads within the pages of the book, before the pages can be removed from the book and pieced together to create on large map of London. Furthermore, the firm is


offering a free FSDU for retailers ordering 20 or more of the Wind Up Bus,


featuring a QR code allowing customers to see the bus in action. Scan the QR Code below to see the bus tour London. Anna Howorth,


marketing and publicity manager, Usborne Publishing, said: “We like to work closely with our retailers and can help with promotion that encourages footfall. “We may have a lot of


books, but we are not a huge corporation and we like to listen to ideas and work with our customers on an individual basis.”


January/February 57


already seen an increase in toy shops selling children’s books. “This is the perfect time


for toy retailers to celebrate children’s books and reading. “We are opening more toy shop accounts than we are book shop accounts at the moment,” she explains to ToyNews. “Retailers are looking to


diversify, to keep the High Street alive. “People are looking for bigger product ranges and


if you have families coming into your shop, then children’s books is the obvious things to stock.” Echoing Howorth’s sentiments, Egmont UK’s licensing acquisition director Emma Cairns Smith believes that the growing popularity of children’s books is due to their ’parent approval’ qualities. “There are lots of


reasons why toy retailers should stock children’s books. They occupy a special place


in the heart of parents’ minds,” says Smith. Egmont holds a wide


range of licensed titles, including Minecraft, Thomas and Friendsand Something Specialand believes that engaging young readers with licensed character books is a ‘great way to encourage reading while expanding the worlds of their favourite toy lines.’


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