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Key Publishing Trends at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2023

License Global heads to Bologna to uncover the key trends displayed at the Children's Book Fair and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair 2023.

Ben Roberts

March 6, 2023

4 Min Read
Bologna Licensing Trade Fair 2023
Bologna Licensing Trade Fair 2023License Global

The global publishing market is set to generate $164.2B in revenue streams by 2030. Nowhere is this growth more tangible than at the 60th Bologna Children's Book Fair.

At Bologna's central exhibition, businesses, publishers, brands, artists, authors and intellectual property owners drive the celebration behind the Bologna Children's Book Fair's 60th anniversary.

Stands filled with paperbacks, hardbacks, comics, board books, interactive books, audiobooks and story boxes cover the two giant halls of Bologna. License Global has uncovered some exciting opportunities for brands worldwide by sifting through Day One of the giant event.

Watch: License Global's Vlog from Day one at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2023

New Intellectual Properties

Publishing has provided narrative inspiration since the first "movie-based-on-a-book" (that's 1899's "Cinderella" by Georges Méliès, if you were wondering) and brands looking for the next big thing are reveling in the sheer quantity of new intellectual property at the show.

Not only is this a space for authors and illustrators to bring their characters, stories and universes to a wider market, but the spotlight also falls on underserved markets and the raft of talent they harbor. Whether it's Slovenia, Africa, Hong Kong, Brazil or Poland, nations converged in a concentrated effort to showcase the national stories, authors, illustrators and storytelling power they possess.

Brand Extension Opportunities

A long time ago, licensing in publishing was a linear journey, moving from book to movie to toy. This is a market of toys-to-books, books-to-series, books-to-toys, games-to-books and movies-to-books in an ongoing infinity loop of transformational adaptation. The major intellectual property brands at the show, from Hasbro to Sanrio, placed their characters, properties, toys and IP in front of the publishing world to extend into new markets, audiences and demographics.

The brands on display across numerous product showcases and countless exhibits included "Pokémon," "PAW Patrol," Moomin, Marvel, "Bluey," Disney Princess, "Star Wars" and Anime brands such as "Naruto," "Attack on Titan" and more.

Shortlisting Licensing

The Bologna Licensing Trade Fair Kids 2023 awards highlighted a handful of standout products this year and provided accolades to well-deserved campaigns showcasing the creativity of brand collaboration. You can find a full list of the winners below:

Best Preschool Licensing Project

Lerner Publishing Group, in partnership with Sesame Workshop, with their SEL Publishing Program project with "Sesame Street"

Best Kids Licensing Project

Creata with McDonald's Happy Meal and "The Smurfs" project in collaboration with Schleich

Best Teen Licensing Project

The Pokémon Company International with the retail project "Pokémon" x La Rinascente with La Rinascente retail group

Best Retail Project

TF1 Licensing's BarbaLouvre project in collaboration with the Louvre Museum

Best Fashion Project

Sanrio and Adidas "Hello Kitty"

Best Licensed Publishing Project

The Ludattica x Eric Carle project by WildBrain CPLG

Best Licensing Toy Project

FABA "Le più belle storie della Nuvola Olga” written by Nicoletta Costa

Best Promotion / Loyalty Campaign

Jakala "'Minions' Market Mania! Sound Collection" in collaboration with NBCUniversal

Best Licensed Kiosk Product

WildBrain CPLG Hachette Bundles for Peanuts 

Best Sustainable Licensing Project

Sanrio for the Ecover x Mr. Men, Little Miss collaboration 

Property of the Year

BBC's "Bluey," represented in Italy by Maurizio Distefano Licensing

The Art & Design Market is Alive and Well

Art and design were in the spotlight this week, with open talks from prominent illustrators, shelves of stunning covers, "drink and draws," and drop-in art clinics from major publishers. But outside the context of publishing, the graphic design and art community in licensing is small but mighty. According to Licensing International, the Art & Design category represents 1% of the overall market share in licensed consumer goods yet still generates an impressive $3.4B globally.

This category comprises raw and underserved talent across hundreds of thousands of creators, and while Bologna showed us how artists and creatives worked within the context of publishing, we witnessed a stark reminder of the untapped storytelling, character and brand potential within Art & Design.

About the Author(s)

Ben Roberts

Content Director (EMEA), License Global

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