Adult coloring books may not be selling in the vast quantities they were at the end of 2015, but the books remained popular enough to lift print unit sales of adult nonfiction by 12% in the first half of 2016 over the first six months of 2015.
Within adult nonfiction, units rose 133% in the crafts, hobbies, antiques, and games category, led by two Harry Potter–related adult coloring books and such titles as Color Your Own Deadpool and Art Nouveau, Animal Designs, according to Nielsen BookScan. The art, architecture, design, and photography category had a 51% increase in units and here too adult coloring books, led by Animal Kingdom, were important contributors. Big increases in those categories countered a 15% drop in unit sales in the biography, autobiography, and memoirs segment. Last year, that segment benefited from huge sales of both American Sniper (which sold more than 1.1 million print copies in the first six months of 2015) and Unbroken. Computers and travel were the other adult nonfiction segments in which unit sales fell in the first half of 2016.
Nonfiction also did well in juvenile, with units up 9% this year through June. Holidays, festivals, and religion, a relatively small juvenile nonfiction category, had a 28% increase in units, helped by higher sales of Bible-related books and some Pope Francis titles. The much larger education, reference, and language category had a 20% unit rise led by a range of Brain Quest workbooks and summer-activity books from several publishers.
Juvenile fiction had a 3% rebound in unit sales in the first half of 2016 after units fell 5% in the first six months of 2015. The increase was largely due to a 15% gain in the segment’s second-largest category, science fiction, fantasy, and magic. There was no single title that drove sales in the category, although Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The 5th Wave both did well, selling about 284,000 and 198,000 copies, respectively, through June.
Adult fiction had a slight decline in print unit sales in the first six months of 2016. Genres that have been the most affected by e-book sales, such as romance and mysteries, saw more print erosion in the period, although science fiction, which has also seen print sales give way to e-books, had a 21% increase in units. The category benefited from the popularity of The Martian, which received a boost from the movie adaptation of the book. Graphic novels, which had an 18% year-over-year rise in unit sales in the first half of 2015, posted even bigger gains in the first six months of this year, with units up 26%.
Unit Sales by Category, January–June, 2015 v. 2016 (units in thousands)
|House & Home/Gardening||1,494||1,754||17%|
|Total Adult Nonfiction||114,052||127,377||12%|
|Total Adult Fiction||65,906||65,621||-0.4%|
|Total Juvenile Nonfiction||22,763||24,746||9%|
|Total Juvenile Fiction||72,832||74,969||3%|