Book Marketing for Children’s Authors: How Children Buy Books

In the third and final part of our series by ALLi Children’s Advisor Karen Inglis, reporting from The Bookseller Children’s Conference, here are valuable insights to help indie authors who are self-publishing children’s books discover how the youngest generation buy books, and how best to reach these young readers.

Here she shares information from the hugely popular British parenting website While these are obviously drawn from their largely UK audience, the trends and patterns reported are likely to be representative of the market in many other countries.

Mumsnet logoMumsnet offered some insightful stats about their users and book buying behavior. Here the highlights:


  • 58% have at least 2 children
  • 63% have a child under 6
  • 42% have a child 6-12
  • 16% have a child under 12 months
  • 21% have a teen

Buying behaviour

  • 87% said they are the main buyer of children’s books
  • 65% buy children’s books at least once a month
  • average spend is between £5 and £15 a month

 Types of children’s books they are looking for…

“Something that engrosses them, exposes them to as wide a variety of language and genre as possible, that teaches them about the world and challenges stereotypes.”

What they don’t want…

“Turgid, tired plotlines, poor use of language, age inappropriate content, maudlin tales of children living with dysfunctional families/illness/death.”

Book discovery and purchasing influencers

  • Websites 39%
  • Magazines 33%
  • Supermarkets 30%
  • Word of mouth 64%
  • Browsing bookstores 59%
  • Amazon recommendations 46%
  • Mumsnet 38%

Where do they buy?

  • 82% online
  • 60% in a bookstore
  • 50% in a supermarket

Preferred online retailers

  • 84% Amazon
  • 56% The Book People (a discounted catalogue distributed to homes and workplaces)
  • 51% Waterstones (a leading UK bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain)

Mumsnet and Children’s Book Recommendations

  • Seven of the top 10 site visits are to the children’s books page
  • Users ask for recommendations/reminisce about books they’ve read
  • 95% said they had mentioned a review they saw on Mumsnet to a friend or family in real life
  • A great place to try to encourage conversations about your book amongst parents, but take care – they have strict rules around self-promotion
  • Advertising starts at around £500 so will be out of most people’s budgets.
  • There is a ‘small ads’ area allowing promotion of self-published titles at £50, but it’s very hidden away and not pretty!

OVER TO YOU Do you have top tips to share about how best to reach that notoriously difficult-to-reach children’s market? We’d love to hear them!

Fascinating stats on how #selfpub #authors can reach children's market - by @KarenInglis Click To Tweet

IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM: The previous two parts of Karen Inglis’s series

Why Print Rules When Self-publishing Children’s Books

How to Market Children’s Books Online

5 Responses to Book Marketing for Children’s Authors: How Children Buy Books

  1. goa holiday packages August 29, 2018 at 10:46 am #

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before end I am reading this enormous piece of writing to improve my experience.

  2. Kristen Steele March 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

    The data suggests that buyers are browsing in bookstores but then making their purchase online, which is important to note. It means that having a presence in a physical bookstore is important for this demographic.

  3. Alex Hallatt March 9, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    Hi Karen

    Have you personally had any success with being on Mumsnet? I participated in some bullying forums for a while, but was loathe to even mention my book!


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