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Licensed Books Gain Popularity in the U.S.

Dr. Seuss, James Patterson, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Star Wars were the most popular licensed properties for books in 2017.

NORTH AMERICAAs the digital world continues to grow, The NPD Group has revealed that publishing is still popular, with licensed books making up 12 percent of all book sales, as well as 28 percent of all children’s book sales, in 2017.

The NPD Group also found that, of licensed properties, Dr. Seuss was the leading book license in 2017, followed by James Patterson, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Star Wars. However, when it comes to top license owners, The Walt Disney Company took the No. 1 spot due to its robust assortment of characters. The remaining top license owners include Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Abrams and Nickelodeon/Viacom.

The top publishers in 2017 were Penguin Random House, The Walt Disney Company, Scholastic, The Hachette Book Group and Harper Collins, according to The NPD Group.

Other popular licensed books included video games such as “Five Nights at Freddys,” toy brands like Shopkins, YouTube creators such as nerdy Nummies and lifestyle brands like Weber Grill.

“Given the ubiquity of popular franchises, and the way content can spread rapidly across platforms, licensing is one of the hottest areas in publishing to watch,” says Kristen McLean, books industry analyst, The NPD Group. “It used to be that book licensing was confined to popular television and film properties, but now there are all kinds of interesting and creative examples of licensed books from a much wider content universe.

“There is no such thing as a predictable pattern when it comes to licensing anymore,” continues McLean. “Bringing popular licenses from other platforms into books gives license owners a powerful way to extend the world of their brand into an affordable, high-value format. Publishers reap the benefits of a built-in, and plugged-in, fan base that can stimulate sales right out of the gate. We can expect licensed publishing to be one of the higher-growth areas in the book industry for years to come. It’s also one to watch carefully, as a bellwether of larger consumer trends.”

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