The self-help and graphic novels categories had the fastest growth in print book unit sales among adult segments in 2014, posting gains of 15% and 13%, respectively, compared to the previous year, at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan. Graphic novels was one of only two adult fiction categories that had an increase in print unit sales last year, with westerns the second. Sales of print fiction titles were hurt more than adult nonfiction was by the growth in e-book sales. In nonfiction, eight categories had a drop in units last year, and eight had an increase. Following self-help, religion/bibles and biography/autobiography/memoir both posted unit increases of 12% in 2014.
While religion did well in nonfiction, religion fiction had one of the steepest unit declines last year, with sales down 15% at outlets that report to BookScan. Units fell the most in the occult/psychological/horror category, falling 26%. The action/adventure category also had a 15% decline. Among the largest adult fiction genres, unit sales of romance books fell 11%, suspense/thrillers units dropped 9%, and sales in the mystery/detective segment fell 4%.
In adult nonfiction, the humor segment had the largest decline, with units off 13%, followed by a 12% drop in computer book sales and a 11% decline in the history/law/political science segment.
The juvenile segment performed much better overall than adult, and of the 16 categories measured by BookScan only three children’s segments had a decline in units last year, compared to 2013. Units in the animals segment in fiction fell 4%, but the category rose 19% in nonfiction, in which DK’s Animals sold almost 134,000 units. The big winner in 2014 was the science fiction/fantasy/magic category, in which units rose 38%. The segment, which was the largest juvenile genre segment last year, is home to such 2014 blockbusters as the Divergent trilogy, the Frozen franchise, and the novels of James Dashner and Rick Riordan. The games/activities/hobbies segment had a 33% unit rise in 2014, led by a large number of blockbuster Minecraft titles that were joined by solid performances of Lego and sticker books.
Unit Sales by Category, 2013–2014
|House & Home/Gardening||2,309||2,130||-8%|
|Total Adult Nonfiction||236,833||240,130||1%|
|Total Adult Fiction||150,590||138,712||-8%|
|Total Juvenile Nonfiction||42,283||48,882||16%|
|General Juvenile Fiction||51,895||52,690||2%|
|Total Juvenile Fiction||157,707||176,685||12%|