Spielwarenmesse: Toys and books – a perfect match

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Toys and books – a perfect match

from Maria Costa

The toy and children’s book industry are getting closer than ever. In the last few years, there has been an important increase in examples of successful developments of book & toy products. This reality represents such a relevant opportunity for the industry that the Spielwarenmesse® devoted a new space this year called "Toys meet Books", an area in which toys and book are presented together as inspiration for book sellers.

Enhancing products

Haba has books into their product range.
Haba has books into their product range.

No doubt, developing the binominal book and toy can be an interesting strategy to consider nowadays. Some of the latest research data from more than 3000 families interviewed by AJIU, the Spanish Technological Institute for children's product leisure, showed that 60 per cent of children in Spain received a book as a present last Christmas. Parents pointed out that they really value the educational and playful aspects that the combination of books and toys offers. These products are seen as a way to enhance the imagination while promoting a love for reading.

Some parents report that while they are reading the book to their non-yet-able-to-read children, their little ones are looking at the pictures but also playing and touching physical objects such as figures of the main characters. They believe this aspect augments the experience of the story telling. Moreover, when the book is finished they can continue the story creating new narratives in their minds. This creates fun moments of parent-child connection for sure.

And the good news is that toy sector is clearly moving towards including books into their catalogs. We see many companies such as Haba, Petit Collage, Sassi Junior, and a long et cetera, marketing books as well.

Don Dino toy chain
Don Dino toy chain

Toy stores have books and bookstores have toys

Not only companies are aware of this potential, distributors are clearly interested. It is obvious that the space in toy stores for children’s books is increasing, and at the same time the area for toys in bookstores is getting bigger.

One very interesting case is Barnes & Noble in the United States. Just a few years ago, this bookstore chain had a minimum amount of toys in their inventory. Nowadays, they have an amazingly great selection of toys and games. This trend is becoming common in many bookstores everywhere. This is not happening only in big chain distributors, we observe this phenomenon in local specialty stores as well.

A look at toy stores shows that the same is happening, the area for books is expanding. In most establishments books have their own space, in others there are books placed next to toys with the same theme or the same license. We can definitely find books places in different ways in toy stores, but the important fact is that they are there to stay and will probably increment in number.

Interestingly, toy distributors have promoted books in specific marketing campaigns lately. Imaginarium, for instance, celebrated The World Book Day giving anyone buying a toy, a huge discount in their books’ selection.

Books are the stage for toy stories

Books are full of stories which children can stage with toys. This makes it interesting for both industries to develop matching products, especially when children, parents and the distributors are on board. Actually, there are still many opportunities to innovate in this field, which the "Toys meet Books" area at Spielwarenmesse® 2020 will show again.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

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