After a couple of years of political books dominating the bestseller lists, an adult fiction book is once again the bestselling book of the year, in print. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens has been buoyed by support from Hollywood powerhouse and publishing kingmaker Reese Witherspoon, who named it to her book club and whose production studio optioned it for film. The novel, which was published by Putnam last August, sold more than 907,000 copies in the first half of this year, according to NPD BookScan, and more than 1.1 million copies since its release.
With those numbers, Owens beat out Michelle Obama to the top of both the combined bestseller list and the adult list, where the former First Lady's memoir was #2, having sold more than 888,000 copies this year. In the longterm, however, Obama has Owens soundly beat, with Becoming having sold roughly 4.5 million copies at outlets that report to BookScan.
Owens's book, however, is an outlier on the adult list, showing once again just how much nonfiction has taken over the adult market. Out of the top 20 bestselling adult books of 2019 so far, only six are fiction. Of those six, only two titles were published this year: The Mister by E.L. James, with 220,332 copies, and The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff, with 205,860 copies.
That trend continues into adult nonfiction, where only six of the 14 nonfiction titles in the top 20 were published in 2019. That includes Rachel Hollis's sequel Girl, Stop Apologizing, the #3 adult bestseller so far this year and #4 bestseller overall, which has sold 505,809 print units so far this year; its 2018 predecessor, Girl, Wash Your Face, was #6 overall. Another 2019 title, The Mueller Report, was a public document—although the edition that made the list, put out by Scribner, also included previously published reporting by reporters from the Washington Post.
It's worth noting that, aside from The Mueller Report and Fox News commentator Mark R. Levin's Unfreedom of the Press—and, arguably, Becoming—this year's bestseller list shows diminished interest in political books. At this point of the year in 2018, Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury and James Comey's A Higher Loyalty, both instant bestsellers, were at #1 and #3, respectively; Bob Woodward's Fear was published shortly after, and also became an instant bestseller. This year, Wolff's follow-up, Siege, was published on June 4. It did not make a dent in the charts.
At #3 overall in the year was Dav Pilkey's Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild, selling 524,849 copies and taking the top slot on the children's list. Pilkey's Dog Man series has sold like hot cakes—or, perhaps more appropriately for the author-illustrator of the bestselling Captain Underpants series, like undergarments—and had three of the top 20 bestselling children's titles this year. The #5 overall bestseller, with 493,154 print units sold, and #2 in children's, was Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by perennial heavyweight Jeff Kinney. The author's The Meltdown, the 13th in his dominant Wimpy Kid series, came in at #6 on the list.
In children's, not a single book in the top 20 was published in 2019. While not unusual for the category, which often sees works by Dr. Seuss and such other classics as Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar place high on the list year after year, it does make a strong point: of the top 40 bestselling books this year across the adult and children's categories, only eight of them were published in 2019, for a grand total of 1/5 of the list.
Top 20 Adult Bestsellers Jan-June
|1||Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Putnam)||907,192|
|2||Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown)||888,611|
|3||Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis (HarperCollins Leadership)||505,809|
|4||Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Nelson)||490,019|
|5||Educated by Tara Westover (Random House)||454,989|
|6||The Tattooist of Auschwitz (paperback) by Heather Morris (Harper)||365,246|
|7||Unfreedom of the Press by Mark R. Levin (Threshold)||267,751|
|8||Howard Stern Comes Again by Howard Stern (Simon & Schuster)||265,295|
|9||You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (Running)||250,048|
|10||The Mueller Report by the Washington Post (Scribner)||243,007|
|11||StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup)||235,821|
|12||It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst (Thomas Nelson)||232,932|
|13||The Woman In the Window by A.J. Finn (Morrow)||230,098|
|14||The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Ten Speed)||229,730|
|15||The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (Harper)||221,913|
|16||The Mister by E.L. James (Vintage)||220,332|
|17||The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (Northfield)||211,976|
|18||The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (Park Row)||205,860|
|19||The Pioneers by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster)||201,112|
|20||Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Penguin)||191,396|
Top 20 Kids Bestsellers Jan-June
|1||Brawl of the Wild (Dog Man #6) by Dav Pilkey (Graphix)||524,849|
|2||Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney (Amulet)||493,154|
|3||Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss (Random House)||483,478|
|4||The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith, illus. by Katz Cowley (Scholastic)||272,182|
|5||Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (Random House)||237,239|
|6||The Meltdown (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #13) by Jeff Kinney (Amulet)||231,149|
|7||Little Blue Truck’s Springtime by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry (HMH)||213,172|
|8||One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (Random House)||191,501|
|9||The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Philomel)||188,241|
|10||Lord of the Fleas (Dog Man #5) by Dav Pilkey (Graphix)||182,585|
|11||Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Clement Hurd (HarperFestival)||163,569|
|12||The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin (Random House)||158,948|
|13||Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illus. by Sheila McGraw (Firefly)||155,806|
|14||Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss (Random House)||154,637|
|15||The Cat In the Hat by Dr. Seuss (Random House)||153,783|
|16||Big Preschool (School Zone)||151,779|
|17||Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., illus. by Eric Carle (Holt)||146,479|
|18||Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illus. by Anita Jeram (Candlewick)||134,468|
|19||Little Blue Truck Board Book by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry (HMH)||134,175|
|20||Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey (Graphix)||129,089|