For the week ended February 13, 2021, unit sales of print books increased 21.3% over the week ended February 15, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. It was the second consecutive week that unit sales rose by more than 20% over the comparable week last year.
The increase was accomplished without the benefit of a big new hit, and once again reflected strength across all major categories as well as big gains for backlist titles. Through February 13, backlist sales were up 32% over the same period in 2020, while frontlist sales rose 3.4%.
The young adult segments had the strongest gains, with nonfiction unit sales jumping 71.7% and fiction up 50.8% over 2020. Two anti-racist books led the increase in nonfiction, while We Were Liars by E. Lockhart topped the fiction bestseller list. Juvenile fiction sales increased 25.1% in the week, and nonfiction sales rose 24.1%.
The top-selling new title last week was Walk in My Combat Boots by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann, which sold over 30,000 copies. The success of Walk helped to drive up unit sales in the adult nonfiction category by 14.5% last week. Adult fiction sales rose 28.6% last week, helped by the release of J.D. Robb’s Faithless in Death, which sold nearly 30,000 copies.
Total print unit sales through February 13, 2021, were up 22% over the comparable period in 2020.