Big gains in sales of adult and young adult titles drove up unit sales of print books by 24.3% in the week ended April 24, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. At this time last year, sales were beginning to recover from early pandemic declines, and were almost flat with the comparable week in 2019. Unit sales last week were about 13.5 million, and were approximately 11.1 million in each of the two previous years.
In adult nonfiction, all the subcategories—with the exception of humor and crafts/hobbies/antiques/games—had sales increases over the week ended April 25, 2020, led by sales of travel books, where units soared nearly 348% after crashing last spring. Five of the top 10 bestsellers in the category were released last week, with World Travel by the late Anthony Bourdain and his longtime collaborator Laurie Woolever landing in the top spot, selling more than 50,000 copies. George Bush’s Out of Many, One was in the fourth spot, selling almost 28,000 copies, followed by Cook This Book by Molly Baz, which sold about 22,000 copies.
Adult fiction sales had a good week, with print units up 33% over 2020. David Baldacci’s A Gambling Man was #1 in its first week on sale, selling more than 44,000 copies. The graphic novel category had a tremendous week, with unit sales jumping almost 360% over the comparable week in 2020. Lovesickness by Junji Ito was the top-selling new graphic novel released last week, selling about 8,500 copies.
Sales more than doubled in the young adult fiction segment without the benefit of a huge new hit. The release of the trade paperback edition of Lost by James Patterson and James O. Born sold almost 8,000 copies in its first week on sale, landing it in fourth place on the category's bestseller list. Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End remained #1, selling more than 13,000 copies.
Last year’s high flying juvenile nonfiction segment continued to struggle with tough comparisons to last year. Units were down 24.4% compared to the similar week in 2020, as several subsegments had steep declines. Through the end of April, units in the segment were only 0.3% ahead of the comparable period in 2020.