Despite nonfiction sales being down in all major categories, unit sales of print books managed to eke out a 1.1% increase last week over the week ended June 20, 2020 in outlets that report to NPD BookScan
Solid sales of backlist titles drove up unit sales 25.7% in the young adult fiction segment while adult fiction sales increased 16% in the week and juvenile fiction sales rose 2.2%.
In the young adult segment Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End remained #1 in the category, selling about 15,500 copies. In the year to date the title, first released in December 2018, has sold more than 294,000 copies. Leigh Bardugo’s backlist continued to sell well last week led by Shadow and Bone, the basis for the Netflix show; it sold over 7,000 copies last week and more than 167,000 copies through June 19.
Only one new release made an impact on adult fiction sales. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides sold close to 25,000 copies in its first week on sale, landing it in second place on the adult fiction bestseller list. The President’s Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton remained #1, selling a little more than 50,000 copies in the week. Other fiction titles released earlier this year continued to post solid numbers including Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me, which sold over 23,000 copies last week and over 136,000 print copies since its release in early May, and John Grisham’s Sooley, which sold nearly 23,000 copies last week and over 233,000 copies in the two months since its publication.
Juvenile fiction’s small increase in the week was helped by the release of What is God Like? by Rachel Held Evans, which sold over 19,000 copies in its first week on sale.
Adult nonfiction sales fell 7.8% in the week as several big subcategories had significant declines, including general nonfiction (down 23.2%), history/law/political science (off 22.5%), and biography/autobiography (down 14.1%). The travel category continued to rebound and sales for the week were up nearly 60%. Last year at this time sales of books about social justice and race were peaking in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi sold more than 138,000 copies, and Robin Di Angelo’s White Fragility sold over 107,000 copies.
Through the week ended June 19, 2021 total print unit sales were up 19.6% over the comparable period a year ago.