Unit sales of print book rose 19.5% in the week ended January 30, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The increase marks the third consecutive week unit sales increased by at least 19% compared to 2020. For the month of January, print unit sales were 21.3% higher than January 2020.
As has been the case for most of January, sales were up by double digits in all major categories. The four children’s publishing segments saw the largest gains.
Unit sales of young adult fiction increased by 50.6% over a year ago, and young adult nonfiction sales rose 41.2%. In YA fiction, sales of supernatural/horror rose by 113% over the week ended February 1, 2020. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart remained the top overall seller in the category, selling more than 11,000 copies. Brigid Kemmerer’s A Vow So Bold and Deadly was the bestselling new title, selling more than 7,000 copies. In YA nonfiction, the holidays/festivals/religion subcategory had the largest gain, with sales jumping almost 81%.
Juvenile fiction unit sales rose 32.5% and nonfiction increased 24% over a year ago. In juvenile fiction, no new release made a big splash. Alice Schertle’s Little Blue Truck’s Valentine stayed in the category’s top spot, selling just over 25,000 copies. The subcategory with the largest gain was general fiction, with a 67% increase. There was no big new release in the week in juvenile fiction either; My First Learn to Write Workbook by Crystal Radke jumped to the top of the category list, selling almost 7,000 copies.
Adult fiction had a solid gain in the week compared to 2020. The Russian by James Patterson and James O. Born was #1 in the category, selling more than 26,000 copies in its first week on sale. The graphic novel category had a huge week, with sales soaring 110%.
Print unit sales of adult nonfiction rose 13% over the last week in January 2020 led by the release of Cicely Tyson’s memoir, Just as I Am, which sold more than 45,000 copies in its first week on sale. The title was published two days before the actress died, on January 28.