Frankfurt: Swedish, Lithuanian Publishers See Children’s Book Sales Booming

In News by Jaroslaw Adamowski

Two publishers in Frankfurt report success with up-and-coming children’s book authors, at home and in international rights deals.

Annakaisa Danielsson, rights manager at Stockholm-based publishers Lilla Pirat Förlaget and Alfabeta Bokförlag. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Jaroslaw Adamowski

By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows

Sweden Sees a New Generation of Children’s Book Authors
Children’s book publishers from numerous countries have reported increased sales since the pandemic as parents from across the globe were making efforts to instill the love for reading in their offspring during those difficult times.

Two established industry players from Sweden and Lithuania are attending this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse to spin their domestic success into further foreign rights deals.

Annakaisa Danielsson, the rights manager at Stockholm-based publishers Lilla Pirat Förlaget and Alfabeta Bokförlag, told Publishing Perspectives that, while cherished children’s book author Astrid Lindgren remains important for Swedish literature and its international brand, there is a new generation of writers and illustrators who are rapidly gaining recognition abroad.

“We release about 40 new books per year,” Danielsson says. “One of our most popular authors is writer and illustrator Eva Lindström. We’ve worked with her since the 1980s, and last year, Lindström’s book Bron, or The Bridge, was the winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.”

The high-level prize, which comes with a check for 5 million Swedish krona (US$454,900), has contributed to the rising international interest in the Swedish creator’s work, according to Danielsson.

“Lindström is an acclaimed author,” she says,. “She has a backlist of around 45 titles. We’ve sold the foreign rights to Bron in six languages, including French, Estonian, Dutch, Danish, and Korean, and the book will be soon released in English in the United States.”

Asked about other bestsellers from the publishing house’s catalogue, Danielsson said that children’s books by Swedish author Klara Persson are also becoming increasingly popular among the market’s young readers. The international rights to Min! (Mine!), a book written by Persson and illustrated by Charlotte Ramel, have been sold in eight languages.

Asked about the forecast for Swedish children’s book sales, Danielsson said that it’s positive, as, during this year’s Goteburg Book Fair, many publishers reported increased sales compared with 2022.

“Besides its obviously negative implications for the world, the pandemic turned out to have a positive impact on book sales,” she says.

“In many cases, it has also strengthened the ties between book industry representatives from across the world who wanted to stay in touch with their colleagues. Online meetings often allowed to intensify such contacts,” said Danielsson.

A Lithuanian Press Seeks New International Markets

Arūnas Kružikas, head of sales at Lithuanian publisher Flintas, and Kristina Pastelyte, the publishing house’s export project manager. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Jaroslaw Adamowski

Lithuania’s publisher Flintas has a 27-year-long history, focusing its offer on children’s books and magazines. Its titles are created by the country’s authors and illustrators, and the publishing house has reported solid growth over the past few years, according to company representatives.

“Our sales increase by about 20 percent per year. We have reported strong growth since the pandemic began,” Arūnas Kružikas, the head of sales at Flintas, told Publishing Perspectives.

The Kaunas-based publisher has a broad portfolio of books intended for younger children, Kristina Pastelyte, the export project manager at Flintas, said.

“We have books for different age groups, including babies and children of up to eight years of age. Some of our bestselling books are activity and coloring books,” she said.

At this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse, the Lithuanian publishing house hopes to secure further foreign rights contracts, building on its recent success in establishing cooperation with partners in a number of countries, according to Kružikas.

“We have already sold rights to our works to 42 countries. Some of the markets where our books and magazines have been published include the Balkans, Greece, Portugal, and Turkey,” he said. “We also plan to expand to Germany and France, among others.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on children’s books is here, more on the Swedish market is here, more on Lithuania is here, and more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

Now available here for your free download, our 2023 Publishing Perspectives Frankfurt Book Fair magazine

Our 75th Frankfurt coverage from our Frankfurt Book Fair Magazine, which has been available throughout the trade show in print, is also available for your free download.

The magazine has more interviews with fellows and grant-program recipients from international publishing markets, as well as previews of programming from our Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurt including our Executive Talks with Penguin Random House worldwide CEO Nihar Malaviya and Nanmeebooks’ Kim Chongsatitwana; highlights of key events at the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse; and coverage of Frankfurt’s upcoming guest of honor programs (Italy, the Philippines, the Czech Republic) and this year’s Guest of Honor Slovenia.

There’s also news of literary agents and agencies; award-winning books from guest of honor markets; focus articles on artificial intelligence, sustainability; and a forthcoming effort to get more Korean literature into world markets; as well as 75th-anniversary “Frankfurt Moments.”

About the Author

Jaroslaw Adamowski

Jaroslaw Adamowski is a freelance writer based in Warsaw, Poland. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Jerusalem Post, and the Prague Post.