Thanksgiving weekend may draw lots of media coverage about holiday sales, but book sales of print titles have been trending upward every week since the start of the holiday shopping season. According to Nielsen BookScan, sales of print books in the stores it covers totaled 12.0 million the week ending November 27 and then jumped to 15.5 million units the week ending December 4. The following week, units rose again, to 18.6 million, and increased 26% the week of December 18, to 23.4 million.
Compared to the same week in 2010, unit sales the week of December 18 were down 14%, with the closing of Borders and the growth of e-book sales likely the two biggest factors in the decline. During the last week, print backlist was doing better than frontlist, with backlist sales down 9% compared to a year ago and frontlist off 19%.