Sales of print books continued to ride a hot streak into February with units jumping 25.7% in the first week of the month over the first week of February 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The increase was the highest yet this year, and unit sales of print books were up 22.1% through February 6, 2021.
Once again, all six major categories had double-digit sales increases over 2020, with sales in the young adult segments skyrocketing; fiction was up 55.7%, and the small nonfiction category rose 67.3%. The latter category benefited from the release of Brave by Sissy Goff, which landed in second place in its first week on sale and led to a 158% jump in sales in the social situations/family/health sub-category. The jump in fiction sales was spurred by the release of two new titles: Star Wars, The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray topped the category bestseller list, selling more than 17,000 copies in its first week on sale, while Scott Cawthon’s The Twisted Ones sold over 9,000 copies.
Sales of adult fiction jumped 31.2% over 2020 led by Kristin Hannah’s newest, The Four Winds, which sold more than 115,000 copies in its first week on sale, making it the top-selling title last week. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse and Catana Chetwynd’s In Love & Pajamas both sold over 14,000 copies in their debut week.
The 17.2% increase in unit sales of adult nonfiction titles was led by two new releases, Andy Ngo’s Unmasked and Ibram X. Kendi’s Four Hundred Souls, which sold over 27,000 and 26,000 copies, respectively. Burn After Writing by Sharon Jones had a huge spike in sales last week, selling over 36,000 copies.
Two backlist titles tied to Black History Month, Little Leaders: Women in Black History and Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History, both by Vashti Harrison, helped to drive up sales 26.8% in juvenile nonfiction. Juvenile fiction sales rose 36.8% over 2020 helped by Claudia and the New Girl by Ann Martin, which sold more than 25,000 copies in its first week on sale.