So far, 2022 has seen growth across the Adult Fiction market in all territories and categories, with some surprising success stories from niche markets. Using Nielsen BookData’s BookScan data across 11 territories (UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, India, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico), we can explore the trends in detail. (All references to “international” sales below refer to the total combined sales across these 11 countries.)
General & Literary Fiction still holds the crown for the highest selling subclass when combining all 11 countries, with the film release of Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing lending a huge boost to sales, especially in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, showing the impact film rights can have on book sales.
But even a blockbuster can’t topple the almighty influence of TikTok, with online sensation Colleen Hoover selling 3.1 million books in 2022 up until August 27 and contributing heavily to an 83% growth in the Romance and Sagas subclass internationally compared to the year to date in 2019.
Though Hoover’s It Ends with Us is the overall favorite title, Verity, Ugly Love, and November 9 have all seen a return to the international top 20, with Portuguese translations in Brazil also finding success. Elsewhere in Romance & Sagas, India loves Chetan Bhagat, whilst Ireland is loyal to local Marian Keyes, a preference shared with New Zealand and South Africa. Other countryspecific Romance queens include Alice Kellen in Mexico, Elísabet Benavent in Spain, and Erin Doom in Italy.
Other TikTok favorites like Taylor Jenkins-Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles have had successful translations in Brazil, Mexico, and Italy, whilst Elena Armas’ 2021 debut The Spanish Love Deception maintains its successful release figures aided by the video app, with 194.8k sales in 2022 so far alongside persistent favorite The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood with 243.3k.
Though Romance & Sagas received a higher percentage growth than Genre Fiction rival Crime & Thriller, this subcategory still leads internationally with 263.8m sales as of August 27, dominated by localized stories in each country. Richard Osman still places first in the UK and overall, whilst Remigiusz Mróz tops Poland’s chart, with Carmen Mola in the top 10 in Spain, and Antonio Manzini in Italy.
A surprising success story comes from Manga, which has seen a gigantic 338% growth across Nielsen BookData’s international markets compared to the year to date in 2019. This increase sees Italy taking the market share of 49% across the countries Nielsen BookData monitors, equating to volume sales of 6.0m. The UK, Spain, and Brazil also reported volume sales of more than a million for the year so far. Where is this growth coming from? Could it be that an increased interest in streaming Anime during the pandemic is lending itself to sales of the animated medium’s print counterpart? With a spike in interest in the general Graphic Novel category led by the success of print publications of popular web comics like Heartstopper, viral success continues to translate into high book sales for new and existing stories across genres and formats.
Historical & Mythological Fiction does not currently feature in this year’s international chart, despite the recent years’ trend in myth retellings, although Spain is enjoying Santiago Posteguillo’s chronicle of the early life of Julius Caesar, Roma soy yo, sitting at number two in their chart with 129.1k copies sold in 2022 as of August 27. This along with successful translations of Miller’s The Song of Achilles suggest there is still interest in alternative takes on popular historical figures and legends, though the slowing in growth could indicate the trend has peaked.
Back in General & Literary Fiction, India prefers the classics, with 1988 novel The Alchemist topping the charts, a preference shared with South Africa, which places the Paulo Coelho classic at number three this year to date. Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library remains on the international chart, with translations in Brazil and Mexico appearing in their individual top 20’s. Between that and the persistent success of The Alchemist, desire for stories about mental health and perseverance are still very relevant as the world adjusts following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some fantastic success stories from across the 11 Nielsen territories show another positive year of growth for the book market, fueled increasingly by TikTok. Only three 2022 releases rank in the international top 20 currently, but with the Christmas season approaching, this year’s debuts have hope still.