It’s been two months since most people started staying-at-home and self-quarantine. A big question is what type of book(s) will be selling better after this is over. One possibility is baby name books. Will there be a mini-baby boom starting in December 2020 and last through the early months of 2021?
Traditionally there is not that big of a seasonal spike in baby name books. The biggest months for birthdays historically are July-October. My contention is that will shift and interest, and therefore sales of baby name books will spike due to a Covid-19 Baby Boom.
Almost every media outlet from NBC and the New York Times to Fox News is saying that there will not be a baby boom. It is too unanimous – so my inclination is to buck the trend and the groupthink and be a contrarian.
Doing a quick search on Amazon with “baby name book,” 328 titles come up. Type in “baby name” and over 1,000 entries come up. So there are plenty of titles being published but few are being promoted on Amazon. Independently published The Baby Name Wizard: The Complete Book of Baby Names for Girls and Boys, 2020 Edition – Meaning, Origin, and Uniqueness by Larry Johnson comes up first (as a sponsored title). I was surprised to not see any Callisto Media titles.
One of the most popular titles is Bruce Lansky’s 100,000+ Baby Names: The most helpful, complete, & up-to-date name book from DaCapo (Hachette). Going with the “more is better” theory and claiming to offer the most names possible. The book is full of lists of various names. This is one of the classics in this category.The sub-title claims to have the most helpful and up-to-date lists.
Other best-sellers include The Baby Name Wizard, 2019 Revised 4th Edition: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby by Lauren Wattenberg from Harmony (Penguin Random House) that offers a system to review the names. Plus a handy selection per name. This one offers a magical method. An example of the interior is listed at the right.
Another book is The Complete Book of Baby Names: The Most Names (100,001+), Most Unique Names, Most Idea-Generating Lists (600+) and the Most Help to Find the Perfect Name by Leslie Bolton (Sourcebooks). This book one ups the market leader Lansky by claiming 100,001 names and over 600 lists. It uses the word “most” seven times on the front cover.
The next one that comes up on Amazon is The Name Book: Over 10,000 Names – Their Meanings, Origins, and Spiritual Significance by Dorothy Astroia. This book is from Christian publisher Bethany House and trends in “Christian Family” categories. It doesn’t try to have the most names, but is focused on a niche within the overall huge category. In a category with so much competition, aiming for a specific reader is a smart way of differentiation.
There are so many books on names that it does come down to metadata and search. This is a bit of a “commodity-driven” category and although there are definite leaders in the sub-category, there appears to also be room to enter and compete. Ths is about quality of the book, but it is also a metadata play and SEO game.
I do not have an opinion on the best book and contend that many to-be parents buy more than one book — and also do search online. This is also a great gift for the expecting parents. Even if they have a name selected, knowing the backstory is cool.
A Google search comes up with the same top titles. But it also includes old editions of the top sellers. This would be easier to shop if Google applied some filters to focus on new titles and de-cluttered the search.
A few websites have reviews. WhatToExpect.com, VeryWellfamily.com, and my favorite, the Social Security Administration site that records names in America since 1879. The top names in 1880 compared to the top names in 2018:
- William, James, and Emma are the only names that are on both lists.
- John and Mary were tops in 1880.
- Liam and Emma were tops in 2018. Interesting inb. that Liam is the irish version of William (#3 in 2018 and #2 in 1880).
You can also look up the ups and downs of the popularity of any name over the past century. Some names have fallen off the cliff and never return; some remain popular throughout history; and others have resurgence. Check out the SSA site. It is fun to play with.
Will baby name books start to take off later this year? Will baby books in general have a spike? I say yes, that the quarantine will create a mini-baby boom and that trend will filter into books that address the new normal. Time will tell.