This is the first article in a two-part series. In the next article, I’ll give you more examples of prospective buyers of children's books.
The market for children's books is potentially huge. Still, most authors approach this enormous opportunity by trying to sell their books through bookstores (bricks and clicks). Instead of competing with all the other books there, seek sales in non-bookstore segments. Listed below are examples of these prospective buyers. This is by no means an exhaustive list but is meant to stimulate your thinking to find new places in which to sell.
Daycare centers could purchase books to read to the children and/or to resell to the parents. Desirable forms and topics include board books, activity books, coloring books, books with puzzles, fiction and non-fiction on many topics. Books in Spanish and bi-lingual books may sell well here, too. Books on religious subjects sell well to the pre-school centers run by churches.
- National Daycare Centers such as KinderCare Learning Centers - 650 NE Holladay Street, Suite 1400, Portland, OR 97232; 800-633-1488; Website: http://www.kindercare.com/home.php3 and La Petite Academy, with 725 academies nationwide; Tel: 800 La Petite (800.527.3848) and website: www.lapetite.com/
- Primrose Schools offers child care and preschool programs for children 6 weeks to 5 years old, www.primroseschools.com/.
- A Safer Start Child University is the only childcare facility in Rhode Island with web cameras so parents can watch their children online through a protected username and password. A Safer Start also has a strong emphasis on education through our unique learning centers www.SaferStart.com.
- ChurchNursery.com - Innovative Products for Church Nurseries. Church Nursery provides Child Safety products and ideas to help run a successful Christian day care center. Our Nursery Labels are great for fast check in procedures and work with Digital Number Boards in Church or Nursery Paging Systems.
Sell to Parents
Parents are always looking for new or better ways to bring up or deal their children. The children’s age groups range from babies to young adult. A high-interest topic in this category is helping a child deal with bullying. The military is a good segment for parenting books. For example, how to make new friends when the child moves every few years, or how to deal with the death of a parent. Some general topics include positive discipline, nurture your child’s developing mind, sibling rivalry, how separated and divorced parents can raise happy and secure kids, and potty training.
- Hedgehog Online Children's Bookstore is the brainchild of teachers who passionately believe that reading aloud to children will set them on a life-long journey of learning and exploration. Their teacher reviews will help parents choose the best books for their children. The website includes grade level reading lists: http://www.hedgehogbooks.com/
- The Readers Digest Foundation promotes the benefits of parent involvement in childhood literacy. Now operating out of more than 200 command posts and USOs around the world. Website: www.unitedthroughreading.org
- Parenting 101 is a hub of insight, perspective, research, recommendations, and stories that speak to what it means to raise children in the modern world. Website: https://www.parenting101.com/
- Baby-Place.com is “your starting point for information related to pregnancy, birth and babies.” Website: https://baby-place.com/
Children’s Museums and Libraries
Gift stores in children’s museums seek books that extend the guest experience. They typically prefer hardcover books and price is generally not an obstacle to purchase. Demonstrate that your content was well researched and current. For distribution to this segment contact Event Network, Inc. Purchasing Department 1010 Turquoise St., Ste. 325 San Diego, CA 92109; Website: https://www.eventnetwork.com/
. Books for children’s libraries range from board books to young adult. Picture books and bi-lingual books sell well here. Baker and Taylor is a top wholesaler to libraries. Here are sources of potential buyers if you choose to contact them directly:
- The Association for Library Service to Children is the world's largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. Website: http://www.ala.org/alsc/
There are many ways in which an association could purchase your books in large, nonreturnable quantities. They could place it in their online bookstore such as that on the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics (https://shop.aap.org/publications/books/
). They could use it as a fundraiser or hire you as a speaker and resell your book to attendees at the meeting. The membership chair could use your book as a premium for people who join or renew their memberships. You could also align your business with the association under the terms of cause marketing. The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (https://www.jpma.org/default.aspx
) lists companies that provide products for children sold through retail stores. A company making baby furniture, for example, could buy your books and provide them to retailers carrying their products to give to people who purchase them. A quick Google search will reveal many associations related to your content and most have a page with the contact information for the associations board members and staff. Here are two examples:
- The International Moms Club (https://momsclub.org/store/ ) is the first, largest and fastest growing support group specifically for ALL at-home mothers.
The approval process for getting your books into public schools can be daunting, and typically state by state. Use these resources to get your books in front of teachers to shorten the process. If you can get an association to approve or recommend your book it can add volumes to your credibility.
- Display-marketing companies such as Collective Goods (formerly Books Are Fun) buy large, non-returnable quantities of books and gifts directly from publishers at discounts up to 80%. Then they sell the directly to consumers through displays at the buyer’s locations (schools, corporations, daycare centers). Website: http://www.collectivegoods.com
- ChildFun has been the leader in educational resources for parents, teachers, childcare providers for more than 15 years. Website: http://www.childfun.com
- For a list of children’s book awards (including Caldecott, Children's Literature Legacy, Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media, Geisel, Newbery, Odyssey and Sibert awards). Website: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia
- For “a collection of reviews of great books for kids, ideas of ways to use them in the classroom and collections of books and activities about particular subjects, curriculum areas, themes and professional topics” go to this website: https://carolhurst.com
- Kids Reviewing Books. At LitPick, kids review books for free. Each book and review is looked over by an adult to ensure quality. It's offered free to authors and it gets kids to read and write more in a real-world setting Website: https://litpick.com/page/litpick-book-review-request-form
- Discovery Toys Catalog “is at the forefront of bringing educational, kid-powered learning products that are based on pure PLAY to market.” Website: www.discoverytoys.net
As you can see, breaking down the mass market makes it much more manageable. It also saves you time and makes your marketing efforts more economical, because you end up only targeting the people who might be interested in your book. If you apply the ideas behind each of these examples to your own title, the non-trade mass market will not seem quite so intimidating.