The Rise of the ‘Wimpy Kid’ Empire

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney is a kid’s book star. And, in many ways, his success reflects the publishing industry’s shifting landscape. Twenty years ago, children’s book publishers sold mostly to librarians and teachers. A decade ago, though, state funding took a serious hit and publishers stepped up their marketing to kids and parents via bookstores, says Lin Oliver, executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators.

“Children’s publishing became more of a business with breakout hits,” Oliver says. Books with graphic elements…became especially popular. “They are not like book report books,” Oliver says.

Related Content