Helped by the release of Bob Woodward’s Rage, unit sales of print books rose 2.3% last week at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. According to BookScan, Rage has sold more than 344,000 print copies since its release on September 15, leading to a 6.5% increase in sales in the adult nonfiction segment over the week ended September 12, 2020.
The juvenile fiction and young adult nonfiction categories both posted gains of 2.7% last week. The sales increase in the juvenile fiction category was driven by a 24.9% jump in sales in the holidays/festivals/religion subcategory. In addition, a solid debut for Max Brallier’s The Last Kid on Earth and The Skeleton Road, which sold more than 18,000 copies in its first week on sale, helped to offset a cooling of sales of Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man: Grime and Punishment, which nonetheless remained #1 in the category, selling nearly 94,000 copies last week.
The 2.7% increase in young adult nonfiction sales was aided by a 12.2% unit increase in the social situations/family/health subcategory. Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi was the top title in the subcategory, selling nearly 9,000 copies.
The three other major segments all had small declines last week. The hot juvenile nonfiction segment seems to have plateaued of sorts, as unit sales slipped 0.1% last week after falling 11.5% in the prior week. Still, for the year to date, unit sales in the category are up about 30% over last year, primarily as a result of pandemic-related homeschooling.
Sales compared to 2019 continue to defy expectations in an otherwise hard year. Sales of print units through BookScan outlets were up 16.4% over the week ended September 21, 2019, and are up 6.3% in the year to date.