Unit sales of print books cooled last week, but still managed to post an 8.8% increase over the week ended May 16, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.
Adult fiction continued to see solid weekly gains, with units up 19.2% for the week ended May 15, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020. Within the adult segment, graphic novels continued to lead the way, with units up 188% over last year at this time. Sales of science fiction titles rose 42.3% in the week.
Unit sales of adult nonfiction increased 3.6% in the week over 2020. As has been the case in recent weeks, subcategories that had been hurt by the pandemic are seeing a rebound, led by travel (up almost 100%), business/economics (up 31.6%), and history/law/political science (ahead 24.8%).
The young adult categories saw big gains in the week. YA fiction was up nearly 76%, and YA nonfiction rose 19.4%. Juvenile nonfiction sales, on the other hand, had another weekly decline, with sales falling 8.4% from a year ago. The biggest drop came in the sale of education/reference/language titles, which fell 32.2%. For the year to date, print unit sales fell 1.4% in the juvenile fiction category compared to 2020.