With small declines in the major subject areas, unit sales of print books dipped 2.8% last week at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The decline came after an 11.5% sales increase in the prior wee,k and was a rare week in which unit sales have fallen on a week-to-week basis since the pandemic hit the U.S. this spring. And compared to the similar week in 2019, unit sales posted a 20.2% increase. Through July 25, print unit sales were up 4.1% over the comparable period last year at BookScan outlets.
The decline in unit sales last week came despite an even better week for Mary L. Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough, which sold nearly 406,000 print copies, up from over 337,000 copies in its first week on sale. The huge gain in sales of the Trump title was not enough to prevent print unit sales from falling 0.7% in the adult nonfiction last week. Among the nonfiction subcategories that had declines were humor (down 15.5%), business/economics (down 4.3), and general nonfiction (down 2.1%).
Following a week during which three new releases drove up sales in adult fiction, units in the category fell 5.4% last week. Big declines came in fantasy, where units were off 28.8%, and mystery/detective, which had a 15.8% sales drop.
Juvenile fiction sales fell 6% in the week, with the largest decline occurring in the holidays/festival/religion subcategory, where units were down 19.5%. Even the red-hot juvenile nonfiction category had a dip in sales last week, with print unit sales falling 2%. The decline was mainly due to a 31.1% drop in the biography/autobiography subcategory.