Everything is relative. Unit sales of print books fell 5.6% last week compared to the week ended August 8, 2020, when sales rose 10.2% over the prior week driven by several new blockbuster titles. Compared to August 17, 2019, however, sales were up 14.3% at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The biggest factor in last week’s sales decline was the trailing off of sales of Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, which sold more than 524,000 print copies following its release on August 4. Last week it sold a very respectable 139,000 copies, making it once again the top-selling title for the week, but the sales drop from its debut led to a 38% sales decline in the young adult segment in the week.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy delivered the following remarks today to the National Association of Secretaries of State in a conference call regarding ongoing election preparations:
“Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for the opportunity to join you today.
We are less than seven weeks from Election Day. The Postal Service is ready and committed to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives. Our number one priority is to deliver election mail on-time and within the Postal Service’s well-established standards.
Let me underscore that the Postal Service has more than enough capacity, including collection boxes and processing equipment, to handle all election mail this year, which is predicted to amount to less than 2% of total mail volume from mid-September to Election Day.
In terms of the recent mailer, as you know the intent of our nationwide mailer was to craft one common message to encourage voters to inform themselves on how to vote by mail effectively, and to avoid providing guidance on state-specific rules and regulations. The concern that some of you have voiced about the mailer underscores why we set out to create one message and not state-specific guidance. I should note, several of you have also voiced appreciation about our educational effort to the public.
That was our intent – to educate voters nationwide – and that continues to be our mission between now and Election Day.
Our other intent was to give you a heads-up to see the mailer in advance. We previewed the fact that the mailer was coming in our last call with your executive committee on August 26. We planned for the mailer to go out Monday, September 14 and to send it to you Thursday, September 10, a few days in advance. But it started hitting households on Thursday, the same day we sent it to NASS, which we understand was not enough of a heads-up for you. We will do better next time.
At the end of the day, nearly 750,000 have visited usps.com/votinginfo since the mailer was sent. They are spending an average of nearly 12 minutes with the site educating themselves on how to use the mail effectively if they choose to vote by mail. Nearly 250,000 visitors have subsequently visited usa.gov/election-office which connects voters directly to their local election board. These numbers demonstrate that voters are proactively looking for information related to logistics of voting by mail in their state. This is a win for all of us.
Looking ahead, we had a productive conversation with the executive committee of NASED on Monday, and I know many of their members are on this call. We’re continuing to partner with them. I look forward to doing the same with NASS over the next 7 weeks and beyond.
Now, let me turn it over to Justin Glass, our Director, Election Mail, for an update on our operational readiness.”