CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Emotion Sells! Unlocking the Power of Family and Reading

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:05pm by Simon Bor

Even though children’s book sales are at a high point at the moment, Egmont’s Cally Poplak told us that their research indicated the figures for kids reading for pleasure were down on five years ago. Now 30% of children read independently and 36% are read to. The session gave us overviews of research being used or with potential to encourage the growth of the reading habit – from a variety of perspectives.

Dr Barbie Clarke of Family Kids and Youth, and Jessica Bondesson, Children’s School Manager at IKEA, presented research conducted with children in Germany, China and the UK, that showed how the type of lighting in children’s bedrooms effected their moods.  IKEA take children seriously, calling children: ‘The most important people in the world.’ Their approach is from the child’s perspective, so that, for instance, the underneath of a table is just as important as the top. In publishing, they have a range of educational preschool books such as ‘Meet the Tiger’ – all designed by kids.

According to Alison David, Consumer Insights Director for Egmont, business decisions are 85% emotion and 15% reason and emotion stimulates the mind 3,000 times faster than rational thought. It could be why children, although spending an increasing amount of time online, still prefer to read in print (75% of 0-13s and 72% of 0-17s ). Two separate initiatives with Foyles and WHSmith, showed how parents who did not read with their children – for a range of reasons –  when encouraged and incentivised to use bookshops, were led to long term reading habits with their children.  Coffee shop and book vouchers were offered in the studies, professional storytellers were engaged to read in the bookshops.  After the Print Matters More… study with Foyles, the families involved were visited six and twelve months later and it was found that both parents’ reading and children’s independent reading had increased dramatically. They were also still visiting and buying from bookshops.

Duncan Shearer from Seymour Distribution, ran us through figures with an amusing talk based on Nectar data. It showed that £14 million was spent on children’s magazines in Sainsburys, and that 60% of the people who bought the magazines would go on to buy a children’s book. That sounded encouraging until you learnt that the same people spent £4m on the books compared to £9m on toys, £27m on prosecco, £141m on all wines and £18m on cigarettes. Duncan wondered how you could persuade people to give up the fags and buy a couple of picture books a week instead. The serious side was that this data could be used to target people and encourage the growth of reading.

CMC@LBF 2018 Event Reports

Simon Bor

About the author

Simon Bor


Simon studied Animation at Farnham, and, more recently, was awarded an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University. He set up Honeycomb Animation with Sara Bor and has been involved in children’s television since the mid 1980s. As a writer, Simon has co-written and created several shows including Milkshake’s 'Funky Valley'. As a director and… Read more