Tag: Nielsen

2017 in review

2017’s regional bestsellers – from Nielsen BookScan

We often report on the overall UK bestsellers through BookScan, which in 2017 so far are showing a good mix of fiction, non-fiction and children’s, featuring both long-established names and successful debuts:

Continue reading

2017 in review

A day in the life of a Publisher Account Manager at Nielsen Book Research

Nielsen Children's UK SummitJaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends.

8:41 (okay okay more often 9am): I get the train from Surbiton to Woking, appreciating that I’m going the opposite direction of most commuters as I easily find a seat. Occasionally I’ll be going the other direction into London, if I have a meeting or training session at any publishers’ offices – typically at least once a week I’ll be out of the office in some capacity.

9:30 Settle in, COFFEE, boot up my email, see what has come in since I left yesterday. Chances are there’s at least one password reset. I have around twenty publishers on my BookScan client list, and then three colleagues with similar lists, so with that many users, resets are needed often! And I choose to view this as a sign that lots and lots of people are using BookScan, which is always good news!

10:00 It’s Tuesday, which means charts day. BookScan will be loading the latest week’s sales this afternoon, so our Production team spends the morning making sure everything is on track and there are no anticipated problems.

10:15 Right now I’m finishing up our monthly newsletter that goes to clients, in which I sum up how book sales in the UK and Ireland are doing this year so far (good news, they’re up!). I usually try to pick an extra topic to write more in-depth about, and this month I’ve decided on Christmas books – specifically, books with ‘Christmas’ in the title, and how many of them are in the BookScan charts over the past month. (And then I remind myself it’s only mid-November and Christmas is still over a month away.) I’m also using our Books & Consumers data to look at books specifically bought as Christmas gifts, to see how buying behaviour differs.

11:30 Receive an email about a password reset. Done!

11:45 I look through some contract renewals that I have coming up in the next couple of months, and start to put together proposals to send to those clients that outline what’s covered in their subscriptions.

12:45ish Time for lunch – I usually just eat at my desk, or maybe pop into town if I need to pick anything up. More often than not I’m watching YouTube videos or reading Buzzfeed/other various articles…

2:00 BookScan goes offline to upload the latest data, and we’re warned not to log in lest we disrupt the process and ruin the afternoon for everyone.

2:30 We send out weekly UK and Irish charts, and some extra reports to various clients.  Inevitably we’ll discuss amongst ourselves what does or doesn’t surprise us about the week’s bestsellers (the new David Walliams sold HOW MANY COPIES this week?!).

3:00 BookScan comes back up – time for another password reset! Fixed with the click of a mouse.

3:15 A query comes through from a publisher on the best way to run a specific chart, as the results she got were different than expected. I walk her through running the chart and try to pinpoint what might have gone wrong.

3:45 I’m doing a webinar soon on how to access and use market share data in BookScan, so I take some time to run through what I’m going to cover, and come up with potential questions that attendees might ask. It’s a bit nerve-wracking – I’m used to training rooms of people but speaking into a computer and being recorded adds a different aspect!

4:30 A couple more emails have come in, one password reset and a query about running BookScan data. I answer those and go through and make sure I haven’t missed anything throughout the day. A lot of my day-to-day is very reactive to what my clients may need or ask for; I never really know what may come up, which keeps things interesting!

Why small publishers sell more books with Nielsen Book2Look

ralph-moellersSmall independent publishers and self-published authors need to maximize the impact of their books and ensure they are easily found on the Internet. Ralph Möllers, the founder of a children’s publisher based in German decided to develop his own book widget, Book2Look, that would enable book buyers, both trade and consumer, to look inside the book before they purchase. The Internet makes content readily available for free. Ralph felt by offering easily digestible free content as a hook would encourage readers to want to read on and most importantly to click ‘buy’. Making the point of discovery the point of purchase.

As a starting point before any book campaign, publishers should think about whom their current readers are and what is happening in the marketplace. Here are some of Ralph Möllers’ latest observations, together with how this led to the development and continuing enhancement of the Book2Look widget.

Your Readers are web savvy

According to BBC research, young people now spend an average of three hours online a day. This seems quite a conservative estimate really, and professionals must spend more than double this amount. Tech savvy millenials are wise to advertising and many use ad blockers to protect them from the ‘lure’ of online shopping ads, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. According to eMarketer, about a quarter of all U.S. internet users, nearly 70 million people will use technology to block online ads in 2016. Publishers therefore need to develop respectful ways of promoting to these readers, as a result of this.  Nielsen Book2Look is therefore an ideal option that lets you share sample content, video, audio clips and other promotional material via the internet on social media sites, on your own site, author site or with retailers, bloggers and reviewers.  Each version can be tailored to meet your audience needs.

Shelf space is decreasing

Despite books such as the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, which achieve huge sales, shelf space for the average book in traditional book stores has been decreasing and this makes discoverability of new books extremely difficult for publishers. Author James Patterson launched an admirable initiative to help indie bookshops survive and thrive – however, in the UK in 2014, almost twice as many bookshops closed down as new ones opened. Between 2009 and 2016*, the number of independent booksellers in the UK and Ireland, has fallen by 25%. With fewer options to browse books in-stores, publishers need to replicate the ability to browse books online, and that’s where Nielsen Book2Look can help you reach a wider audience for your books.

The social media frenzy continues

Trends in Social Media usage are changing. Many Facebook users have migrated to Instagram or Twitter away from parental observation. Groups of friends prefer to communicate via closed groups on Path or What’s App. Professional networks such as Yammer give work colleagues a valid reason to chat online. Nothing remains constant but the one thing all forms of social media have in common is that they give their users the opportunity to share. Nielsen Book2Look lets your readers share sample content. It gives them a valid reason to communicate on their preferred social channels, and you can add a link to your preferred retailer, ensuring that you achieve sales.

Nielsen Book2Look is a tool that encourages readers to share and spread the word about the books they like. A tool that supports your local retailer by offering customised sample content. And lastly but not least, it’s a tool that gives you great analytical data about the performance of your book content that can be connected to your existing Google analytics account.


Today Nielsen Book2Look is helping thousands of publishers of all sizes worldwide to promote and sell their books. Nielsen Book2Look has achieved millions of book views, last year the figure was 20m, and we expect that to increase this year.  Ralph Möllers says: “As a developer and as a publisher I am really proud of this contribution to our industry and I am delighted that so many publishers around the world can take advantage of this remarkable book widget. Even better news is that Nielsen Book has launched its new ISBN Store which enables publishers not only to purchase their ISBNs online but the Book2Look widget too – what could be simpler than that?”

*2016 is seeing a number of new independent bookshops starting up, which might lead to a resurgence of high street retailing, but this is still a hugely competitive market with customers being offered a huge of point of purchase.



Nielsen ISBN store a hit

After nearly 50 years of promoting and selling ISBNs and prefixes to publishers in the UK & Ireland via a manual process, Nielsen has launched an online store that enables publishers and self- published authors to go to one site and purchase ISBNs, Book2Look widgets and a subscription to their BookData Enhanced service, enabling publishers to enrich their title records.

Publishers and self-published authors can purchase these services 24/7 enabling them to work and shop at their convenience.

Stephen Long, Global Director Discovery and Commerce Solutions commented: “The ISBN is a critical part of the book trade and I am delighted that the Nielsen ISBN Store has been so well received. Our aim is to offer all our clients a fast and efficient way of purchasing ISBNs and the online store compliments the expertise of the ISBN agency staff.”

Stella Griffiths, Executive Director of the International ISBN Agency recently wrote an article on the importance of the ISBN: “Unique ISBNs aid discovery and disambiguation; they can also contribute to the marketing process by highlighting specific qualities in a publication, for example differentiating between product form details (e.g., whether a book is in PDF or EPUB formats), or between the accessibility options available for those with reading or print impairment.” The full article can be read here.

Read about the ISBN store here: https://www.nielsenisbnstore.com/


2017 in review

Where we read what: UK regions and their reading habits

While most popular books tend to have their sales spread throughout the country, I always find it interesting to look at how sales differ when moving from region to region in the UK – in BookScan we can separate sales into East of England, Lancashire, London, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South West, Southern, Wales & the West and Yorkshire. This year, Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 is comfortably sitting at number one in every region, followed by the paperback of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train everywhere but the South West – Eden Project: The Guide has managed to outsell the thriller in that pocket of the UK in 2016 so far.

Looking at a selection of bestsellers for each region, only four titles appear in every top ten: Lean in 15, The Girl on the Train, The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams and Make Me by Lee Child. Here’s some more regional differences that stand out:

  • Three titles make it into the top ten for Northern Ireland but no other region: the film tie-in version of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Awful Auntie by David Walliams and Old School by Jeff Kinney. From another angle, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet ranks in the top ten books everywhere BUT Northern Ireland.
  • Ella Woodward’s second book Deliciously Ella Every Day is number six in London but beyond position ten everywhere else. On the other hand, London is the only region where Mary Berry: Foolproof Cooking does not appear in the top ten.
  • Scotland has shown more of a liking for John Grisham than other bestsellers this year – Rogue Lawyer is number ten when combining sales from Central Scotland, Northern Scotland and Border but further down in all other regions.
  • Colouring book sales have continued into 2016, even if they are a bit more subdued than last year’s phenomenon – but that hasn’t kept the Harry Potter Colouring Book from grabbing a place in Lancashire’s top ten chart.
  • As the year progresses, World Book Day titles usually relinquish their bestseller positions, but Roald Dahl’s The Great Mouse Plot still takes a spot in the North East’s top ten, and Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape by Cavan Scott appears in both the North East and Yorkshire.
  • Another Yorkshire variance is the presence of Sylvia Day – One with You is number nine there but not within the top ten anywhere else.
  • East of England, Wales & the West and the Midlands all have the same titles in their top ten lists, corresponding to the top titles in the overall UK, but no region has those titles in the same order.

And that’s just for the first half of 2016 – I had a brief look at all-time bestsellers, and while Fifty Shades of Grey is the best-selling book in the overall UK and most individual regions since BookScan began, The Da Vinci Code takes the crown in London, Scotland and Southern.

So where should you live based on your bookshelves?

Jaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends.


Free Nielsen key findings report: The UK Children’s & YA Book Consumer

Since 2012, Nielsen Book UK has undertaken a Children’s Deep-Dive Study each summer to investigate children’s book reading and buying habits in the context of other leisure and entertainment pursuits.

For the first time in 2015, in addition to the nationally representative sample of 1,500 parents of 0-13 year olds and 500 young adults aged 14-17, the survey included 1,000 book buyers aged 18-25 to help investigate the phenomenon of adults buying ‘YA’ books for themselves. The research was undertaken in July 2015.

The 2015 research measured a drop in book reading on a weekly basis both among those aged 3-7 and 14-17 – though since 2012, the biggest decrease overall has been among 3-10 year olds. Books, however, still rank as the most popular activity for 0-10 year olds – but are in fifth position for 11-13s and drop out of the top 8 activities for those aged 14+.

For the first time Nielsen segmented the 0-25 book market into groups. ‘Superfans’ – the very heaviest readers – tend to be female, with an average age of 12. ‘Distractable’ and the ‘Anti’ groups are more likely to be males, with the ‘Anti’ group being older (14 on average) and the ‘Distractables’ younger (11 on average), whilst the ‘Potential’ group is as likely to be boys as girls.

This latter group are the ones reading e-books and magazines, and they too like adaptations; with the right content, format and messaging, this is a market that publishers can grow.

Download a free extract of the report here. Or you can purchase the full report via Nielsen here.

2017 in review

All the facts and stats from the UK Children’s Summit

For the first time this year, Nielsen Book held a UK Children’s Summit at London Book Fair, covering the incredible growth we’ve seen in Children’s sales worldwide over the past two years, and will hopefully continue to see. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking and talking about book sales data, I couldn’t pick a better subject to present on right now than the children’s market.

Since my first foray to the LBF in 2013, the children’s market has taken a turn for the better – after steadily declining from 2009 to 2013, revenue grew 9.5% in 2014, even as adult fiction and non-fiction continued to decline. Sales in 2015 improved even further, up 5.3% to £309m, marking last year as the highest year for Children’s since BookScan records began. And it wasn’t just one category, or one author, or one publisher. The three largest categories (Children’s Fiction, Picture Books and Novelty & Activity Books) all saw growth, as did the majority of top publishers. Even more impressive, 2016 sales to the end of March are already up 7.4% compared to the first three months of 2015, pointing toward 2016 being another excellent year.

The strength of Children’s Fiction in particular continues to amaze me – value sales grew 11.3% in 2015, and so far in 2016 the category has gone up another 10% in quarter one, topping £20m. Last year, 14 of the top 20 authors were in growth, with the top 20 taking about half of fiction sales. It’s a combination of new and old driving this – David Walliams’ latest Grandpa’s Great Escape was the highest selling children’s title for the last five years, but then we also see J.K. Rowling moving back up the ranks. The new illustrated Harry Potter contributed to her moving from the eighth largest children’s fiction author in 2014 to the third in 2015, and in the first few months of 2016, she’s moved into first.

Contrary to the other large categories, Young Adult Fiction saw a bit of a decline in 2015 (down 5.3%), but there were still some positives – half of the top twenty authors showed increased sales, including Zoe Sugg in first and Terry Pratchett in second. Actually, the top ten YA titles made more money in 2015 than in 2014 (£7.9m vs £7.0m), with 25% of revenue coming from those top ten, led by Girl Online 2: On Tour. We also saw value growth beyond the top 100 titles, and more debut authors earning over £100k than in the previous year, pointing to plenty of future potential in the YA sector.

It’s not just the UK that’s seeing extensive growth in Children’s – of the ten countries we measure through BookScan, only Australia was in decline in 2015, after a really strong 2014. Interestingly, when you look at the breakdown of the market in each country, Australia has the largest share taken by Children’s, at 44% of volume sales, closely followed by New Zealand at 42%. In the UK, Children’s takes about 34% of volume sales and 24% of value, which has grown from only 15% back in 2001, and only 21% as recently as 2012, all pointing to the continuing strength of print in the Children’s market.

Jaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends.

Publishing for kids: how to reach book buyers online [event round-up and photos]

Guest Speakers from different areas of the publishing industry came together to discuss how to make a success of publishing for kids in an online world. Here Abigail Hyland rounds up the key things we learned from the speakers.

pub kids

Steve Bohme, Nielsen Book Research: recognising overlooked marketing strategies

Nielsen measure the engagement children and young adults have with social media, by way of consumer surveys, to find new ways of targeting a market that is increasingly online.

Quick glance stats:

Who’s online? 0-17yr olds   

– 50% of this age group access YouTube

– 26% of this age group access Facebook

– 23% of this age group access Amazon

Where are books being bought?

-33% online

-67% offline

Where are books being discovered?

-17% online

– 83% offline


From these statistics it’s obvious that publishers of children’s books are missing out on a potentially huge referral market. But instead of a missed opportunity, Nielsen are using this research as encouragement to tap into new ways of marketing children’s literature on online platforms.

Sven Huber, Boolino: using the internet as an instantly available meeting place of reader and text

If bookstores are the psychical bridge between authors and readers, how does the internet form a bridge between author and reader to the same effect?

From this question, a business opportunity arose and there ‘Boolino’ was born; a site that aims to connect the reader to a text through online interactive material that’s supplementary to the book.

This ‘added’ content, such as video book reviews, allow a parent to make an informed decision about which books they will buy their child. And, when that book has been bought, further material is available to aid the reading experience in the form of online tests and games. This caught the attention of the publishers of these texts, as they came to recognise the use of this added value. This then formed strong communications between the Boolino and publishers’ websites, leading to a healthy referral system between each site.


Claire Morrison, DK Books: putting what parents want online

DK’s research into what parents want for their child suggests a wish list of age-appropriate content, educational value, engagement with the text, and an expert view on what kids should be reading. This is encapsulated by the advantageous branding DK have which attributes these traits to their publications purely through the trust in the brand. DK are “engaging but trustworthy”, Claire Morrison describes.

Putting this into practice, DK have recently launched the online platform DKfindout!, ‘A safe place online to see, learn and explore almost everything’.

This platform provides:

  • A secure site for a child to search and explore
  • Homework resources
  • Top tips to help parents support their child’s learning and education.


Charlotte Hoare, Hachette Children’s Group: identifying problems one must consider when marketing to children online

Charlotte noted how the children’s books sector is the hardest to target, in terms of marketing, due to the dual approach you have to take when communicating to both the parent and child, buyer and user. But the biggest challenge comes in the form of ‘Verified Consent’: You can easily approach an adult via marketing, but to reach a child is a lot trickier. COPA, an American initiative, states you are not allowed to hold any identifiable data about anyone under the age of 11. So, if you want to sign a child up to a campaign/newsletter/competition, you can only do so with consent from the parent.

Bringing together data (Nielsen) and business opportunity (Boolino & DK), whilst acknowledging the difficulties with children’s book marketing (Hachette), we are provided with a rounded view of how to market books to children and their parents in the current online publishing climate.

For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook page.


Abigail HylandAbigail Hyland is an Editorial Assistant at SAGE Publications and music reviewer for the Brighton based magazine, ‘The Latest‘.



Time to bury the ISBN?

This is a guest post from Ricardo Fayet. Ricardo is an avid reader and startup enthusiast who has been studying the publishing industry with interest for several years. He co-founded Reedsy, to help authors collaborate with publishing professionals.



The latest AuthorEarnings reports from indie author Hugh Howey and his collaborator “data guy” unleashed a new debate in the publishing industry, this time focused on ISBNs for eBooks. “30% of the ebooks being purchased in the U.S. do not use ISBN numbers,” writes Howey–a statistic that forces us to question the validity of all data that comes out of ISBN tracking. He goes on to say that “the ISBN is dead. It’s just not buried yet.” Is it really time for each of us to grab a shovel?

Continue reading

Nielsen reveals further decline in print and books as gifts, rise in digital

We already know that print sales declined in 2013 (as they have year on year for a while now), dropping in value from £1.514 billion in 2012 to £1.416 billion – a slump of £98 million, 6.5% of total print sales in 2012. We also know that the decline in print books sold year on year was even more precipitous, dropping 9.8% from around 203.9 million units sold in 2012 to 183.9 million. Now Nielsen has released the results of its Book Survey analysing the damage in more detail, showing an overall decline of 4% in UK book sales across print and digital and pointing out one major contributing factor in particular – a fall in the number of books bought as gifts.

Continue reading

Get the latest news and event info straight to your inbox


+44 207 183 2399

Incubation at Ravensbourne | 6 Penrose Way | Greenwich Peninsula | SE10 0EW

© 2019 BookMachine We love your books