Unit sales of print books rose 6% for the week ended April 10, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The sales week was a complex one: sales of juvenile books took a dive, while sales of adult titles skyrocketed. The reason for the discrepancy was twofold: Easter week sales boosted sales of children’s books at this time last year, while adult sales comparisons in 2021 benefitted from the decline in sales during the same period in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Unit sales in the adult fiction category jumped 55.3% over the week ended April 10, 2020, helped by the release of new graphic novels published by Viz Media. New Viz releases took the first second, fourth, and 10th spots on the adult fiction bestseller list, selling about 73,000 total copies. The top seller in the category was Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia, Vol. 27, which sold nearly 22,000 copies, followed by Chainsaw Man, Vol. 4 by Tatsuki Fujimoto, which sold just over 20,000 copies.
Unit sales increased 49.6% in the adult nonfiction category, boosted by a good week for Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb, which sold more than 42,000 copies in its second week on sale and solid debuts of two new books. Brandi Carlile’s Broken Horses: A Memoir sold over 24,000 copies and Women Evolve by Sarah Jakes Roberts sold nearly 22,000 copies.
Print unit sales jumped 65.7% despite no new strong titles in the young adult category. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera was #1 in the category, selling nearly 16,000 copies.
The biggest decline in the week came in the juvenile nonfiction segment, where units plunged 50.5% compared to 2020. The combination of a late Easter last year and parents buying titles for children stuck at home led to big sales numbers last year. Last week, sales in all but two subcategories had steep declines compared to 2020. The largest decline was 69.4% in the games/activities/hobbies segment, followed by a 63% decline in the holidays/festivals/religion category.
Sales in juvenile fiction fell almost 30% as all subcategories had declines. The holidays/festivals/religion segment had the biggest drop, with sales down 67.4%.