Print sales of unit books rose 1.6% last week over the week ended June 6, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. While the juvenile categories have usually led the week-to-week gains since the pandemic hit, last week it was the adult categories that led the increase, in particular adult nonfiction.
Unit sales rose 4.4% last week in the adult nonfiction segment. According to BookScan, print sales in the history/law/political science segment, where most titles about race and social justice are classified, jumped 28.7% in the week.
Among the titles that stood out were So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and published by Hachette Book Group’s Seal Press, which was in second place on the overall bestseller list, selling more than 57,000 copies. One spot below that title was Beacon Press’ White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, which sold more than 54,000 copies. Unit sales of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (Bold Type Books) soared 452% in the week, with sales hitting nearly 38,000 copies.
The adult nonfiction category had two other areas in which sales had good gains. As restrictions related to Covid-19 are eased in many states, unit sales of travel books rose 14.2% last week, and the business/economics category had an 8% sales increase.
Sales of adult fiction rose 1.6% last week. The classics genre had a 13.9% sales increase in the week, while sales of suspense thrillers rose 12.6%. The sales increase was helped by good performances by new releases from James Patterson and Danielle Steel; The Summer House (Patterson with Brendan DuBois) sold nearly 26,000 copies, and Steel's Daddy’s Girl sold more than 22,000 copies.
Unit sales in the juvenile nonfiction and fiction categories fell 3.3% and 0.8%, respectively. The biggest weekly decline in nonfiction came in the biographies/autobiographies segment, where units fell 13.4%. The animals category had a 11.4% sales increase. In juvenile fiction, sales in the large social situations/family/health category fell 5.1%, while sales in the classics segment rose 4.2%.