The Kid Lit Report

License Global goes behind the scenes of publishing’s biggest brands, platforms and adaptations to uncover the art of licensing stories.
Ben Roberts

March 15, 2022

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Penguin Group

Despite challenges presented by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the global publishing market for kids and young adults weathered the storm to emerge from 2020 with incremental growth forecasts for 2022 and beyond. 

The U.S. kids’ book market was valued at around $2.47 billion in 2020, growing to $2.6 billion in 2022, while the U.K. is set to achieve a market value of £758 million this year (source: IBISWorld). APAC, however, led the market in 2020, accounting for 34.4% of all young readers and 43% of global market growth in 2022 (source: Technavio). Two of the fastest-growing markets in the rankings were the Middle East and South America, with compound annual growth rate of 13% and 9.7%, respectively (source: Business Research Company).  

Today, the forecast for future growth is even stronger. The global children’s, adolescent and young adult book industry is predicted to grow from $18.2 billion in 2022 to reach a global market share of $21.95 billion in 2025 with a CAGR of 4.8% (source:

Business Research Company). 

After keeping children and young adults entertained, educated and engaged during pandemic measures across 2020 and 2021, the market has once again inspired a generation to read.  

The number of children and young adults who openly enjoyed reading reached a 15-year low in 2019. That number soared in 2020, with 34% of kids surveyed reading more during lockdown and 55% finding more joy in reading after restrictions were lifted (source: National Literary Trust.) The same survey states that 59.3% of children worldwide agreed they felt better during lockdown due to reading, escapism and losing themselves in countless narratives.  

“Reading is so important for children, beyond education, through research by the National Literacy Trust we know that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing than children who don’t enjoy it,” says Ygraine Cadlock, editorial director, preschool brands, Penguin Random House Children’s. “Books became even more important during lockdown, with children reading more and more widely as well. We saw this reflected in book sales, too; the preschool market sales, in particular, were at an all-time high of £141.2 million in the U.K. This market area was boosted by parents looking for ways other than screens to keep young children busy during multiple lockdowns and support their learning at home. This is the market area where licensed characters, with their trusted and reliable content, reside.”  

The world is reading once again, and the power of kids’ literature is back in force as its audience continues to grow, parents share nostalgia titles and new narratives take over the market. The reason for this is… 

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