The rich got richer last year in racking up titles that hit PW’s children’s frontlist fiction and picture books bestseller lists. Scholastic retained its hold atop the frontlist fiction ranking, placing 40 titles on the list last year and occupying 26.8% of the 1,300 slots (the list includes 25 titles each week). Penguin Random House increased its share of frontlist fiction slots, taking 257 positions out of the 1,300 on that list in 2017 (up from 226 in 2016) and boosting its share of list real estate to 25.3%.
Scholastic had four of the top 10 longest-running books on the fiction list, including the top title, Dog Man Unleashed by Dav Pilkey, which remained on the list for all but one week in 2017. Another Pilkey book, Dog Man, the first in his Captain Underpants spin-off series, was on the list for 36 weeks. PRH had only one book among the longest-running fiction bestsellers: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, which was on the list for 41 weeks. In general, PRH’s top-selling titles stayed on the fiction list for a longer period of time in 2017 than in 2016.
While Scholastic and PRH improved their bestselling positions last year, their closest rivals lost ground. Disney, which took the third-most fiction slots in 2016, remained #3 last year even though its share of the total slots fell from 15.5% to 13.8%. The publisher had one title among the 10 longest-running bestsellers in 2017: Gravity Falls: Journal 3 by Alex Hirsch and Rob Renzetti, which stayed on the list for 28 weeks. In 2016, Rick Riordan’s The Hidden Oracle remained on the fiction list for 32 weeks (in 2017, Riordan’s Dark Prophecy was on the list for 23 weeks).
HarperCollins and Simon Schuster also lost ground on the fiction list last year. Both publishers saw their number of titles on the list fall, and each had just one title among the 10 longest-running bestsellers. Similar to 2016, SS scored with a Rachel Renée Russell Dork Diary book: in 2017 it was Tales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy. HC’s longest-running fiction bestseller was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, from its Balzer + Bray imprint.
The Hachette Book Group had 20 titles on the fiction bestseller list last year, two more than in 2016, and it closed the gap with SS for fifth place in terms of share of list slots.
On the picture books list, PRH increased its share of the 1,300 bestseller slots its titles occupied in 2017 compared to 2016, from 34.6% to 37.8%. The company had 69 books hit the list last year. Four of PRH’s books were among the 10 longest-running picture book bestsellers, including three by Dr. Seuss. The three Seuss titles occupied 107 slots—8% of the picture books bestseller positions.
Macmillan also increased its share of positions on the picture books list, landing six more titles last year than in 2016. It also had the only book to stay on the list for all 52 weeks: First 100 Words by Roger Priddy. Another Macmillan book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, was on the bestseller list for 47 weeks.
HarperCollins had more titles hit the picture books list than Macmillan, but its titles did not have the staying power of Macmillan’s—with the exception of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, which spent 51 weeks on the list.
Scholastic raised its share of picture books bestseller slots, adding two titles in 2017 over 2016 and keeping its Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees on the list for 49 weeks.
Firefly once again had a 3.5% share of picture books slots, as its perennial bestseller, Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch, was on the list for 46 weeks.
Children’s Bestsellers by CorporationFrontlist Fiction Company Books Positions Share 2017* Share 2016* Scholastic 40 349 26.8% 19.3% Penguin Random House 33 257 25.3% 17.4% Disney 24 180 13.8% 15.5% HarperCollins 21 130 10.0% 12.9% Simon Schuster 18 100 7.7% 10.2% Hachette 20 97 7.5% 6.7% Abrams 3 57 4.4% 4.5% Macmillan 19 52 4.0% 3.5% Picture Books Penguin Random House 69 491 37.8% 34.6% Macmillan 16 174 13.4% 12.1% HarperCollins 29 153 11.8% 11.6% Simon Schuster 16 104 8.0% 8.1% Scholastic 13 92 7.1% 6.4% Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 9 78 6.0% 6.1% Firefly 1 46 3.5% 3.5%
* 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.) To qualify for these rankings, a publisher must have at least a 2% share of slots.
Note: Our children’s bestsellers-by-corporation 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.
Longest-running Children’s Bestsellers of 2017Weeks on Frontlist Fiction 51 Dog Man Unleashed
Graphix 49 Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11)
Amulet 41 Everything, Everything
Ember 40 The Hate U Give
HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray 38 Tales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy (Dork Diaries #11)
Rachel Renée Russell
Aladdin 37 Ghosts
Graphix 36 Dog Man
Graphix 32 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 and 2
Scholastic/Levine 28 Gravity Falls: Journal 3
Alex Hirsch and Rob Renzetti
Disney-Hyperion 28 The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Algonquin Weeks on Picture Books 52 First 100 Words
Priddy 51 Goodnight Moon (board book)
Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Clement Hurd
HarperFestival 49 Giraffes Can’t Dance (board book)
Giles Andreae, illus. by Guy Parker-Rees
Cartwheel 47 Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (board book)
Bill Martin Jr., illus by Eric Carle
Holt 46 Love You Forever
Robert N. Munsch
Firefly 45 The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Philomel 42 Dr. Seuss’s ABC (board book)
Random House 40 Little Blue Truck (board book)
Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry
HMH 35 Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Random House 30 Green Eggs and Ham