Unit sales of print books fell 3.6% last week compared to 2020, and the pattern was a familiar one—higher fiction sales offset by declines in nonfiction. According to NPD BookScan, sales in the adult and young adult segments both rose by 16% (juvenile fiction fell 0.7%), but adult nonfiction and juvenile fiction both had low double-digit declines compared to the week ended September 19, 2020.
Last year, Bob Woodward’s Rage sold nearly 345,000 copies in its first week on sale, while Blackout by Candace Owens sold more than 70,000 copies. (Woodward’s newest Trump-related book Peril, written with Robert Costa, was released this past Tuesday; its sales will appear next week). A number of new nonfiction titles published last week had respectable sales, but not at the same level as last year. Joshua Weissman: An Unapologetic Cookbook by Joshua Weissman was #1 on the category list, selling more than 58,000 copies. Heather Heying’s A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century sold over 17,000 copies, putting it in third place on the category bestseller list.
Juvenile nonfiction sales dropped 12.1% as interest in educational titles that can be used at home continued to cool. School Zone Big Preschool Workbook was #1 last year at this time, selling more than 16,000 copies, while My First Learn to Write Workbook by Crystal Radke was #2, selling nearly 11,000 copies. Those two titles topped the category bestseller list last week, but each sold about 9,000 copies each.
Adult fiction sales jumped 16.6% over last year, driven by the release of three new titles. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty was #1, selling more than 47,000 copies, followed by Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead and Enemy at the Gates—the latest in the Mitch Rapp series created by Vince Flynn and now written by Kyle Mills—which sold 29,000 and 28,000 copies, respectively.
Young adult sales increased 16.8%, with backlist sales leading the gain. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera was #1, selling more than 11,000 copies, while Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha followed, selling about 9,000 copies.
The small decline in juvenile fiction came despite decent debuts by two new titles. Sesame Street: Boo! Guess Who, Elmo by Matt Mitter sold about 17,000 copies, and The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race by Max Brallier sold just over 14,000 copies.