Print Book Sales Soar With Adult Fiction the Top Seller

From a post on by Jim Milliot headlined “Print Books Sales Soar in Year’s First Half”:

In the first half of 2020, unit sales of print books surprised many in the industry by posting a 2.9% increase over the same period in 2019…overcoming a slump in sales in early spring following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Print sales finished 2020 up 8.2% over 2019, and that strong performance continued into 2021, with units jumping 18.5% in the first six months over the comparable period in 2020. With the exception of the juvenile nonfiction category, all the major publishing categories had double-digit sales increases in the first half of the year….

The increase in the first half of 2021 was led by the adult fiction category, where units rose 30.7%. The top seller in the category was Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds, which sold more than 558,000 copies….Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens took two spots on the category bestseller list: the trade paperback edition sold more than 294,000 copies following its publication at the end of March, while the hardcover edition sold nearly 151,000 copies.

The big story in adult fiction was the strength of the graphic novel format. Unit sales soared 178.5% in the first half of the year…making graphic novels the second-largest adult fiction subcategory….

Viz Media was one of the big beneficiaries of the graphic novel boom. Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia, Vol. 26 was the top adult graphic novel in the first half of the year, selling more than 90,000 copies….

YA fiction sales had the largest gain among all the major categories in the first half of 2021, with units up 48.8%. The jump came despite tough comparisons to the first half of 2020, when Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, sold more than 887,000 copies, making it the bestselling book in the period. This year’s top-title in the category was They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, which sold nearly 331,000 copies….

Juvenile fiction sales rose 17.8% in the first six months of 2021, and the category had the most popular book in the period. Mothering Heights (Dog Man #10) by Dav Pilkey sold more than 867,000 copies, and Pilkey’s Cat Kid Comic Club sold almost 370,000 copies.

Adult nonfiction unit sales rose 15.6% in the first half of the year….Sales of self-help books had the largest gain, up 32.1%, followed by business and economics books, up 24%, and home and gardening and general nonfiction, which both had increases of just over 22%. Only two areas had sales declines: humor, where sales fell 17.4%, and crafts/hobbies/antiques/games, where sales dipped 1.2%. The #1 title in the category was The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman, the book version of the poem she read at President Biden’s inauguration, which sold more than 455,000 copies….


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