Print Sales Enjoy an Unexpected High (

In early spring, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced most bookstores to close and disrupted print book sales through Amazon, no one could have predicted that by summer unit sales of print books would be up 1.4% for the year to date over the same period in 2019, nor that sales would hit a weekly high for the year. But that is what happened in the week ended June 20, when unit sales from outlets that report to NPD BookScan topped 15 million—22.9% higher than the similar week last year—and total units sold for the year hit 295.7 million, up from 291.6 million in the first 24 weeks of 2019.

The increase came from a combination of continued strong sales of books on racism and social justice, as well as from Father’s Day books. Sales also benefitted from the slow reopening of more bookstores and continued solid online orders. The two top sellers in the week were How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, which sold about 138,000 and 107,000 copies, respectively. Since the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police on May 25, sales of books about race relations have soared. White Fragility, published by Beacon Press in June 2018, has sold 271,532 print copies so far this year, including 192,325 copies since the week ended May 23. It’s the 14th-bestselling print title of the year through June 20, according to BookScan.
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