In the US, print book unit sales were up 18.5% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2020, reports Publishers Weekly.
All the major publishing categories—except for juvenile nonfiction—had double-digit sales increases, while backlist titles were up 21.4% and frontlist titles rose 12.4%.
Adult fiction was up 30.7% on last year, with the category’s top seller, Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds (Macmillan), selling more than 558,000 copies since February. The success of adult fiction titles was in part driven by the strength of graphic novels, unit sales of which soared 178.5% to 16.2 million copies sold. Graphic novels made up nearly 20% of adult fiction unit sales in the period.
YA fiction grew 48.8% over the period, with They Both Die at the End (Adam Silvera, S&S) the bestselling title with nearly 331,000 copies sold—thanks in large part to its exposure on BookTok. Juvenile fiction sales were up 17.8% over the same period, as well as boasting the overall bestseller in Dav Pilkey’s 10th Dog Man book Mothering Heights (Scholastic), which sold 867,000 copies.
Adult nonfiction sales rose 15.6%, driven by increases across most subcategories, including self-help, business and economics, home and gardening and general nonfiction. The bestselling title in the category was The Hill We Climb (Viking), the book version of the poem Amanda Gorman read at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, which sold more than 455,000 copies.