US Book Market: NPD Sees Unit Sales Up 2.8 Percent in Q2

From Publishing Perspectives:

The top-line information from the NPD BookScan report today (July 20) includes information for the second quarter of 2020 and finds that year-to-date American book unit sales tracked by the program grew 2.8 percent through Q2, with 322 million units sold in 2020 compared to 313 million units in 2019.

The print book market was in negative year-to-date territory from March 15 to May 30, as a result of store closures in coronavirus COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

In NPD’s assessment, however, the print market has since recovered and has posted five weeks of consecutive positive year-to-date growth.

. . . .

NPD sees adult nonfiction as having encountered the sharpest downturn during the mitigation shutdowns period of mid-March through May, but the adult nonfiction category that posted the highest unit gains in Q2 included biography and memoir, up 35 percent compared to the first quarter of this year.

Here we see politically charged content in play, with gains credited to new releases including The Room Where It Happened (John Bolton) as well as Untamed (Glennon Doyle). There also was an increase in biographies tied to the race-relations dynamics in the States, including Between The World And Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates); Born A Crime (Trevor Noah); and Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson). The category saw double-digit gains over performance in the first quarter.

Travel books took the biggest hit, dropping 44 percent in the second quarter compared to the first.

. . . .

Adult fiction rose 3 percent year-to-date through the second quarter.

General fiction saw the most gains over the first quarter, up a healthy 25 percent on the strength of unit sales in titles including Where The Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens) and books behind recently released book-to-screen adaptations such as Normal People (Sally Rooney) and Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng). 

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives