The juvenile fiction and nonfiction categories had big gains last year, with print unit sales up by more than 10% in both categories at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan. Industry members expected that sales in the two segments would cool this year and sales, which started to slow this spring, plunged in the week ended April 19, 2015, compared to the similar week in 2014. Unit sales in the juvenile nonfiction category fell 39% in the week and dropped 46% in fiction at outlets that report to BookScan.
At this time last year, the top 10-selling books in the juvenile fiction segment—books in the Divergent trilogy, several John Green and Frozen titles—combined to sell about 418,000 print copies. Last week the top 10 titles combined to sell about 133,000 copies, a decline of 68%. Taking a broader view, sales of the top 100-selling books last week fell 63% compared to April 20, 2014.
The story was pretty much the same in juvenile nonfiction. The top 10-selling titles last week combined to sell approximately 54,000 print copies at outlets that report to BookScan; in 2014, two Minecraft titles—which were in first and second place on the nonfiction list—sold 59,000 copies and the top 10 titles sold about 163,000 copies. Sales of the top 100 selling titles fell 63% last week compared to the same week in 2014.
The poor sales week, it should be noted that last year it was Easter week, was enough to push sales of fiction titles into the red for the year—for the first 16 weeks of 2015 unit sales were down 2% compared to the same period in 2014. Unit sales of print books were still up in nonfiction, up 8% in the year to date.