Sainsbury’s has launched its first range of own brand pre-school children’s books as part of a wider initiative to increase own brand and branded books.

Eight books have been launched in more than 200 Sainsbury’s stores, with further collections planned for May and September. The range is aimed at children aged between 0-5 and is priced at between £3 and £9.99.

The pre-school and early learning book market was worth £20.7m in 2010. Sainsbury’s predicts sales worth £1m in the first year, giving it a forecasted 5% share of the market.

Phil Carroll, Sainsbury’s book buying manager said: “Fostering a love of books at a young age is important. With Sainsbury’s range of pre-school books we wanted to make the category as accessible and affordable as possible.

“We’ve been working on delivering these eight books and the future collections for over a year, to ensure we got it right.  Book publishing is a new and exciting area of opportunity for Sainsbury’s.”

Sainsbury’s recently published two cookbooks, the first of which, Sainsbury’s Winter Recipe Collection, was the biggest selling non-celebrity cookbook pre-Christmas.

Sainsbury’s now accounts for 5.5% of all UK book sales by volume.