Unit sales of print books fell 5.1% last week compared to the week ended October 17, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Only the adult nonfiction segment managed to post a small (0.6%) increase over the prior week. The category had the top-selling book last week, Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, which sold nearly 78,000 copies in its first week on sale.
Unit sales fell 9.3% in the adult fiction category due to large declines in suspense/thrillers (down 20.2%), horror/occult/psychological (off 19%), and romance (down 16.2%). The bestselling title in the segment remained John Grisham’s A Time for Mercy, which sold nearly 42,000 copies, a decline of 52% from its first week on sale.
Declines in all subcategories resulted in an 11.6% sales drop in the juvenile nonfiction segment. The biggest decline was in autobiographies/biographies, down 19.5%, followed by history/sports/people/places, where units dropped 13.3%. Juvenile fiction sales declined 8.2%. All subcategories had declines in the week, with science fiction/fantasy/magic unit sales falling the most, by 12.3%.
Despite the week-on-week decline, unit sales rose 13% over the week ended October 26, 2020, and year-to-date sales increased 7%. Sales for the last two weeks do not include a file from a retailer. BookScan expects to make a minor adjustment to sales when the file becomes available.