Scholastic’s newly illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Claudia and Mean Janine were on PW’s Children’s Frontlist Fiction bestseller list for a combined 93 weeks in 2016, helping the publisher edge out Penguin Random House for the top spot in our annual ranking of children’s publishers by bestsellers. Scholastic had a total of 33 books on the fiction charts in 2016, up from 21 in 2015. Other Scholastic titles that had healthy runs on the list were Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (20 weeks), Kristy’s Great Idea (16 weeks), and The Truth About Stacey (15 weeks)—the latter two, like Claudia and Mean Janine, are from the Baby-Sitters Club Graphix line. In all, Scholastic’s titles occupied 252 slots on the lists last year, representing a 19.3% of the total 1,300 Children’s Frontlist positions. In 2015, Scholastic had only a 7.3% share.
PRH placed more titles on the fiction bestseller list than Scholastic in 2016, but its books didn’t have the same staying power. PRH’s two longest-running bestsellers came from its Speak imprint and were written by Rick Yancey. The Infinite Sea was on the list for 37 weeks, and the movie tie-in to The Fifth Wave was a bestseller for 24 weeks. PRH’s share of bestseller slots on the fiction list fell to 17.4% last year from 19.8% in 2015, when it had 39 books reach the list.
Disney is another publisher that had an exceptionally good year on PW’s Children’s Frontlist Fiction list. It had 25 titles reach the list, up from 18 in 2015, and its share of total bestseller slots increased to 15.5% from 9.4%. The Hidden Oracle, which was on the list for 32 weeks, had the longest run among Disney titles, and six new Star Wars books reached the list for a combined 31 weeks. (Hidden Oracle author Rick Riordan had six books on the bestseller list last year.)
Children's Bestsellers By Corporation
|Company||Books||Positions||2016 Share*||2015 Share*|
|Penguin Random House||36||226||17.4%||19.8%|
|Simon & Schuster||23||133||10.2%||8.0%|
|Hachette Book Group||18||87||6.7%||11.4%|
|Penguin Random House||60||450||34.6%||45.9%|
|Simon & Schuster||13||105||8.1%||7.4%|
|Houghton Mifflin Harcourt||8||80||6.1%||5.8%|
With Disney’s rise, HarperCollins slipped in 2016 compared to the prior year. The number of HC bestsellers rose by one, to 26, but their combined length of stay dropped from 234 weeks in 2015 to 168 weeks last year, giving the publisher 12.9% of all slots.
PRH maintained a commanding lead in the publisher ranking for PW’s Picture Book bestseller list, thanks in large part to the perennially popular Dr. Seuss, but even here it lost some ground to its competitors. PRH had 60 picture books hit the list last year, down two from 2015. More significantly, its share of all available slots fell from 45.9% in 2015 to 34.6% in 2016. The company had two of the top-10 longest-running bestsellers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which was on the chart for 50 weeks, and Dr. Seuss’s ABC, which ran for 42 weeks.
No publisher had a dramatic increase in the number of picture books on our bestseller list last year, but all publishers other than PRH gained in their shares of the list positions. Macmillan stayed in second place in terms of its share of bestseller slots on the strength of three long-running bestsellers: First 100 Words was on the list every week in 2016; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was only absent for three weeks; and On the Night You Were Born spent 34 weeks on the list.
HarperCollins had significantly more titles on our picture book bestseller list last year than Macmillan, but its 26 titles had a combined run of 151 weeks, accounting for 11.6% of all slots on the list. Its longest-running title, as usual, was Goodnight Moon, which was on the list for 49 weeks.
PW's 2016 Longest-running Children’s Bestsellers
|Weeks on the 2016 bestseller lists||Frontlist Fiction|
|49||Old School (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10) |
|44||Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone |
|38||Tales from a Not-So-Perfect Pet Sitter (Dork Diaries #10) |
Rachel Renée Russell
|37||Library of Souls |
|37||The Infinite Sea |
|32||The Hidden Oracle |
|25||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them |
|25||Glass Sword |
|24||The 5th Wave (movie tie-in) |
|24||Claudia and Mean Janine (Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #4) |
|Weeks on the 2016 bestseller lists||Picture Books|
|52||First 100 Words |
|50||The Very Hungry Caterpillar |
|49||Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (board book) |
|49||Goodnight Moon |
|45||Little Blue Truck (board book) |
|45||Love You Forever |
Robert N. Munsch
|44||Giraffes Can’t Dance (board book) |
|42||Dr. Seuss’s ABC (board book) |
|40||The Going to Bed Book |
|34||On the Night You Were Born (board book) |
Feiwel and Friends
|34||Guess How Much I Love You |
Three publishers that did not have enough picture book bestsellers to make our ranking in 2015 hit the 2016 chart. Disney had 13 titles reach the list, led by 5-Minute Star Wars, with a run of 27 weeks. Firefly made the ranking with one title, its backlist mainstay Love You Forever, which was on the list for 45 weeks, giving the Canadian publisher a 3.5% share of total bestseller spots. Tiger Tales also made the list in 2016 after missing out the previous year. The publisher, which was the 18th-largest children’s publisher in 2015 based on BookScan print sales data, had four books hit the picture book list last year, giving it a 2.4% share of total bestseller slots.
* This figure represents the publisher’s share of the 1,300 bestseller positions on the list in question during the year indicated. (There are 25 positions on each weekly list.)
Note: Our children’s bestsellers-by-house rankings are determined using data from our two weekly children’s bestseller lists: Frontlist Fiction and Picture Books. These lists are based on print unit sales at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, which tracks roughly 85% of the print market.