Despite seven new titles appearing among the top 10 bestsellers last week, unit sales of print books fell 1.2% compared to the week ended September 26. The decline followed a 5.5% unit sales decline in the last full week of September.
The adult fiction category was the only major segment to post a meaningful sales increase last week. Units rose 9.1% led by The Return by Nicholas Sparks, which sold more than 107,000 copies in its first week on sale, making it last week’s top title. Jim Butcher’s Battle Ground sold more than 44,000 copies, landing it in fifth place on the overall bestseller list.
Week-on-week growth seems to have stalled in the juvenile nonfiction segment. Unit sales fell 8.5% last week as all but one subcategory had a decline. Even with sales leveling off in the segment, print units were up 29.1% in the first nine months of 2020 over the comparable period in 2019.
A new book by bestselling author Rachel Hollis was not enough to prevent unit sales from falling 4.8% last week in adult nonfiction. Hollis’ Didn’t See That Coming sold over 46,000 copies in its first week on sale. Steve Doocy’s The Happy in a Hurry Cookbook sold 45,000 copies in its first week. Offsetting those debuts somewhat, unit sales of Bob Woodward's Rage fell by about 40,000 copies in the week, to just under 33,000 copies sold. The book has sold about 450,000 copies since its release in September.
As is becoming increasingly the case this fall, a decline in week-on-week sales doesn’t translate into a bad week compared to 2019. Unit sales rose 9.2% over the week ended October 5, 2019, and for the first nine months of 2020 print unit sales were up 6.4% over the comparable period in 2019.