The Surge of Print Books Sales Continues (

Unit sales of print books rose a remarkable 29.2% in the first quarter of 2021 over the same period in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Though some of that gain was due to the slump in sales that occurred in mid-March last year, most of the increase was due to the surge in book buying that began last spring and carried over into 2021. All six major categories tracked by BookScan had double-digit increases, and all four print formats posted gains.

Units rose 24.6% in adult nonfiction, the industry’s largest category. Sales in the home and gardening subcategory, which began to take off late last April, remained strong into the first quarter of 2021, up 54.1% in the period. Sales of general nonfiction increased 44.7%, while sales in the self-help and biography/autobiography/memoir areas rose 38.8% and 35.7%, respectively. The long-awaited revival in travel books has not arrived yet, with unit sales down nearly 25%.

Print sales of adult fiction increased 34.7% in the quarter. Graphic novels led the way, with sales soaring almost 146%. Big gains were also seen in fantasy (up 48.4%), science fiction (40.6%), and romance (29.9%).
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