Thanksgiving weekend may be the kickoff for the holiday selling season, but it is the first week after Thanksgiving when book sales really start to jump. In a rare occasion in which Thanksgiving fell in different weeks in 2018 and 2019 (Nov. 22, 2018, compared to Nov. 28, 2019), unit sales of print books took a big hit in the week ended Nov. 30, 2019, compared to the Thanksgiving-less week ended Dec. 1, 2018. At outlets that report to NPD BookScan, unit sales dropped 23.4% in the final week in November 2019 compared to the similar week last year. The question for the book world now is whether the 24-day period between November 30 and December 24 is enough time to make up for the late start to the holiday season. Booksellers and publishers are not just confronting a short selling window but also the strong sales performance last year of Becoming by Michelle Obama; the book sold more than 381,000 copies in the week ended Dec. 1, 2018. The top-selling adult nonfiction title in the most recent week this year was The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier by Ree Drummond, which sold more than 30,000 copies. As a result, unit sales in the adult nonfiction segment plunged 31.7% in the most recent week compared to 2018. Print unit sales fell 18.1% in the adult fiction category, although the discrepancy between the top-selling books in 2018 and 2019 was not as great as in nonfiction. The #1 adult fiction title at this time last year was George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, which sold more than 43,000 copies, while topping the category bestsellers in the most recent week was The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts, which sold more than 36,000 copies.
Volume 266 Issue 50 12/09/2019