The impact of an earlier Easter and a kerfuffle surrounding Dr. Seuss titles that sold many books last year proved impossible to overcome last week, when unit sales of print books were down 12.8% compared to the week ended March 20, 2021, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The only category that had an increase over 2021 last week was adult fiction and there the gain was only 0.6%.
Juvenile fiction and nonfiction had the biggest declines, with fiction down 17% and nonfiction dropping 20%. Last year, Jeff Kinney’s Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories was #1 in juvenile fiction, selling about 47,000 copies. The #1 title in the category last week was Adam Wallace’s How to Catch a Leprechaun, which sold just under 27,000 copies. Two Easter books on last year’s top 10 category bestsellers sold more than 47,000 copies, while three Easter books last week sold fewer than 42,000 copies.
The decline in juvenile nonfiction sales was due to softness throughout the category. The top 10 titles on last week’s category list sold about 14,000 fewer copies than the top 10 a year ago. Last week’s #1 category seller was Super Extra Deluxe Essential Handbook (Pokemon), which sold more than 6,000 copies.
Sales in the adult nonfiction category fell 12.8% last week. Glenn Beck’s The Great Reset was #1 in the category last week, selling almost 48,000 copies. Last year, Don Lemon’s This is the Fire was #1, selling more than 30,000 copies in its first week on sale, but a host of new releases also sold well in the week. Last week’s bestselling new release was Ann Voskamp’s Waymaker, which sold over 20,000 copies.
The small increase in adult fiction was led by Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton, which sold nearly 61,000 copies in its second week on sale. Harlan Coben’s The Match, which sold over 23,000 copies, was the top-selling new release last week.