An earlier arrival than last year of Easter and Passover has helped soften the sales blow caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, unit sales of print books rose 6.9% last week over the week ended March 28 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Sales had been soft in the week ended March 28, falling 9.2% from the prior week.

All four of the major publishing categories posted gains last week over the previous week, led by the juvenile fiction category, where unit sales rose 12.2%. Nine of the top 10 bestsellers in the category were about Easter or spring, led by Little Blue Truck's Springtime, which sold about 37,000 copies. Overall, sales in the holidays/festivals/religion category jumped 49.2% over the prior week.

The holidays/festivals/religion segment also drove the 2.8% sales gain in the juvenile nonfiction category, with sales in that segment increasing 53.3%. My First Learn-to-Write Workbook was the top seller in the category, with sales of about 31,000 copies.

Adult nonfiction print unit sales rose 6.9% over the prior week. Sales of humor books led the way, with units up 24.8%, and sales of religion books increased 23.7%. Print unit sales in the adult fiction category increased 3.6%, driven by a 60.8% spike in sales in the westerns genre, followed by a 10.9% gain in sales of classic literature.