Book sales are still up following a hot start to 2021. Last week, unit sales of print books jumped 18% over the week ended January 25, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. In the prior week, unit sales rose nearly 23% over 2020, resulting in a 22% increase in print sales through January 23 over the comparable period a year ago.
Every major category had double digit increases last week. Those jumps were led by the young adult segments, where fiction rose 46.9% and nonfiction increased 48.5%. The top seller in fiction was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, which sold nearly 15,000 copies, while Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi topped the nonfiction list, selling about 4,100 copies.
The top-selling print book overall last week was Alice Schertle’s Little Blue Truck’s Valentine, which sold more than 33,000 copies. Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris had a strong debut, selling upwards of 26,000 copies in its first week on sale. The two titles helped boost overall sales in the juvenile fiction category 28.7% over the comparable week in 2020.
In juvenile nonfiction, Superheroes Are Everywhere, written two years ago by the newly-inaugurated Vice President Kamala Harris, was the #1 title in the category, selling about 7,600 copies. Two books about Harris had good weeks: Who Is Kamala Harris? by Kirsten Anderson and released last week sold 6,655 copies, and Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes sold almost 4,5000 copies. Total unit sales in the juvenile nonfiction category rose 23.2% over 2020.
Adult fiction sales rose 18.5% over 2020. George Orwell’s 1984 was the #1 seller in the category, with sales over 27,000 copies. Adult nonfiction sales had the lowest weekly gain, increasing 13%. Business Made Simple by Donald Miller sold more than 18,000 copies in its first week on sale, trailing only Barack Obama's A Promised Land on the category bestseller list.