With parents turning to books for home learning and online retail dominating sales, preschool publishers have been steadily navigating their way through lockdown and out the other side. Shannon Cullen, Ladybird Book’s publishing director, takes a look back at the past six months and what is in store for the future.
“The last six months have been a series of successes and challenges. The closure of the high street obviously affected our bricks and mortar retailers and even online was a challenge, as families reverted to authors or brands they already knew.
The flipside of that was that Ladybird has some strong brands, such as Peppa Pig, Ten Minutes to Bed and Hey Duggee, and they really thrived. We saw huge interest in our wipe-clean activity books as parents tackled home learning. Now that schools are back we’ve seen shifts to more typical behaviour. Topsy and Tim Start School still had its usual spike!
We also had a fantastic response to our Ladybird Little Big Moments campaign, where we sent pairs of books to people who were separated during lockdown, so they could read together. Obviously we didn’t expect to run that campaign at the start of the year, but it was incredibly heart-warming.
Christmas is always fun in children’s publishing. For the first time ever we have a Peppa Pig advent calendar, which has a little mini book to discover and read every night in the countdown to Christmas!
It’s difficult to see when things will emerge into some sort of ‘new normal’ next year, but I’m hopeful. We’ll be publishing our first ‘eco-novelty’ lift-the-flap books in the spring, which are printed on 100% recycled board with plant-based inks and minimal plastic glues. With the topics of Bees, Trees and Seas, they’re sure to engage inquisitive little minds.
We’ll also be driving the diversity and inclusion of our list even harder, with a particular focus on race, ethnicity and disability. Ladybird is where all families should feel welcome and seen.”