Over three-quarters of parents think this is a ‘golden age’ of children’s books, but many also want their kids to enjoy classics and favourites from their own childhood, new research from YouGov reveals
The “Children and Their Reading” report spoke to parents of aged between 2 and 10 and found that 79% think the UK is currently in a ‘golden age’ of children’s publishing. However, seven in ten (70%) also believe classics, such as Roald Dahl books and the Famous Five, are still appealing and two thirds (66%) want their children to enjoy such old favourites in addition to more recent titles.
YouGov’s research shows that reading physical books is still an extremely popular past time for parents and children. 95% of people with children aged 2-7 read to them several times a week, a figure that falls off only slightly (89%) among those with 8-10 year olds. Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to be the main reader – 54% versus 21% among those with younger children and 59% to 21% for those with older kids. The role is shared equally by 18% of the parents of 2-7s and 14% of the parents of 8-10s.
The report shows that newer forms of media are also making inroads into reading habits. More than a quarter of parents of 2-7 year-olds (25%) and three in ten (30%) of 8-10 use a digital device for reading with their children. Parents of younger children are more likely to use an app than an e-reader (18% versus 11%) but the opposite is true with 8-10 year-olds, where parents are more likely to use an e-reader than an app (21% versus 15%).
Purchasing habits show the physical nature of print books is still important. Though 85% of parents make book purchases online, physical retail outlets are still popular destinations when buying children’s books. Over half (53%) of consumer surveyed believe that looking at children’s books in-store gives them a better idea of their suitability than buying online.
Parents of 2-7 year-olds mostly buy their books in supermarkets (49%), chain bookshops such as Waterstones and discount bookshops like The Works (both 42%). The rankings are slightly different among parents of older children. Chain bookshops come out top (45%), followed by supermarkets (44%) and discount bookshops (43%).
Dan Brilot, Media Consulting Director at YouGov said: “With sales of children’s books increasing year on year, it is fair to say we are in a ‘golden age’ of children’s publishing. The emergence over the past decade or so of exciting new authors and illustrators such as Julie Donaldson, Charlie Higson, Eoin Colfer and Jacqueline Wilson has breathed new life into the children’s book market with a fifth of UK parents saying they now read to their children more often than they used to. In addition to increased usage of e-readers and tablets offering an exciting interactive dimension to reading to children, it is clear that that the next generation of readers are still being educated, entertained and inspired with the printed word.”