As the world braces to self-contain and experience social distancing, more schools are closing and parents are faced with homeschooling and/or keeping up with activities. Amazon’s book sales are an insight to the zeitgeist of the country.
Q: What is driving the Amazon top 50?
A: Children’s Learning titles.
Thirty-eight of the top fifty books overall (76%) are in subjects to help children learn — and to help parents occupy but still teach their young children.
The current #1 seller is MY FIRST LEARN TO WRITE WORKBOOK – from Rockridge Press. Rockridge is an imprint of Callisto Media. Callisto is an Emeryville, CA based publisher that scrapes Amazon data to find niches. They have created an entire line of learning titles for children. Rockridge has four (4) titles of 38 from the top 50. The others are FIRST TODDLER COLORING BOOK (#9); AWESOME SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS (#12); and THE HUMAN BODY ACTIVITY BOOKS FOR KIDS (#15).
publisher that has the most titles on the list is School Zone with eight (8) titles trending in the top 50. Dominating the top 10 with titles at #4; #5; and #6. School Zone’s best selling titles are in the “BIG” series of workbooks, with books covering pre-school; kindergarten, first grade, and second grade all trending. School Zone titles generally are the top sellers (accd. to Bookscan) and have rising accordingly.
Workman has seven (7) titles in the top 50 and is driven by their BRAIN QUEST series of workbooks. This series is unique compared to the others in that there are titles for older kids (the competition generally stops around 2nd-3rd grade). The BQ titles for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade are trending. The Workman titles are at #7; #11; #13; #19; #27; #36; and #37.
Scholastic has three (3) titles on the list. Their biggest one is a “wipe clean” format with an erasable marker. The lead title is one that traditionally is a bestseller and it has risen as the entire group of books in this sub-genre have gone up. Scholastic has a long list of learning titles and this is a small sampling of their offerings.
Highlights Learning is another publisher with more than one title trending. Highlights has three (3) books in the top 50. All general grade-related workbooks that cover pre-school; kindergarten; and first grade. Highlights workbooks are at #14; #23; and #29.
We are in unprecedented times and never before have so many children’s learning titles dominated the Amazon list. This is an indicator of what is on people’s minds. This was not the case before Wednesday night – as Amazon’s top 50 looked as it traditionally does with the Oprah picks, new novels from best-selling authors, Trump books (pro and con), and a spattering of other in-the-news titles. The tipping point was after the President’s speech that tanked the markets and schools started to announce closings. Major league baseball also delayed opening day.
Given many of these searches are probably general in nature (as opposed to a specific title) and driven by category, it is a good time to invest heavily in buying the keywords like “workbook”, “kindergarten books” etc. Parents are searching and wanting to buy. They just don’t know specifically which titles. Owning the SEO with this increased demand will pay off in sales. The other important factor is to stay in stock and ensure Amazon reorders. Most of the titles are discounted already, but pushing for lower prices would help spur sales too. I realize that goes against basic supply-demand rules, but my contention is lowering prices will create multiple sales. Plus in a time of a national emergency, helping people out with lower pricing is the right thing to do. To see what is the wrong thing to do, check out this article on a guy in Tennessee who stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer only to be kicked off of Amazon for price gouging.
Amazon’s top 50 is updated hourly, and this is what was listed as of this posting, it will be different soon. My sense is the run on children’s activity books will slow down in a few weeks but will settle on a number that will be higher than what was selling pre-social distancing. But as schools start to close across the country, parents will be searching for books that will help their children keep up with their studies.
Be resilient everyone and stay safe.