Unit sales of print books rose 3% for the first six months of 2017 compared to the first half of last year at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Units for the January-June period in 2017 totaled 310.7 million, up from 302.8 million a year ago.
All four of the major segments had increases over the first six months of 2016, with juvenile fiction having the best performance; unit sales in the category were up 5%. The growth in juvenile nonfiction was just behind fiction, up 4%.
Sales in the adult segments were less robust. Adult nonfiction unit sales increased 2% over the first half of 2016, while adult fiction sales rose just under 1%.
The 3% gain in the adult category was lower than the 6% unit increase recorded by BookScan (which captures 80%-85% of print unit sales) in the first half of 2016 over 2015. Print units for all of 2016 rose 3% over 2015.
One factor holding back print increases was the lack of a breakout hit in the first six months of 2017. The top seller for the period was the backlist title Oh! The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, which moved over 482,000 copies.