Large gains in fiction sales offset more declines in nonfiction, leading to a 4% increase in unit sales of print books last week over the week ended July 4, 2020, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.
The top 15 bestsellers last week were all fiction titles, led by the mass market paperback edition of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, which sold more than 48,000 copies in its first week on sale. Another new release, Star Wars: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, sold nearly 15,000 copies in its first week on sale. Overall, unit sales of print books rose 30.5% in the adult fiction segment in the week over the same period in 2020.
Unit sale jumped 39.2% in the young adult fiction category in the week. Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End was #1 again, selling over 19,000 copies. The book, first released in December 2018, sold nearly 331,000 copies in the first six months of 2021. The Betrayed by Kiera Cass sold more than 5,600 copies in its first week on sale, placing it fourth on the category bestseller list.
Juvenile fiction sales were up 7.7% in the week. Dav Pilkey had two titles among the category’s top 10 bestsellers: Dog Man: Mothering Heights at #1 and Cat Kid Comic Club at #9. Ali Cross: Like Father Like Son by James Patterson sold close to 8,000 copies in its first week on sale.
Unit print sales fell 10.3% in adult nonfiction. Last year at this time, John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened was the hot title, selling more than 294,000 copies, up from the 211,000 copies it had sold in its first week on sale. Room was joined on the bestseller list by a number of titles on race and social justice.
Last week, a new book critical of the Trump Administration hit the adult nonfiction bestseller list: Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta sold nearly 9,000 copies in its first week on sale. Topping the category list was psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, which sold just over 13,000 copies.
For the first six months of 2021, total print unit sales were up 18.5% over the comparable period in 2020. A more detailed look at unit sales to date will appear in PW’s magazine and in Monday’s PW Daily.