Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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US print sales down 1.3% in 2019

US print sales in 2019 fell by 1.3% in volume compared to the previous year, reports Publishers Weekly.

Volume sales for the year totalled 689.5 million units, down from 698.4 million the previous year, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks 80–85% of print sales.

Among adult nonfiction segments, self-help had the biggest gain in 2019, with volume sales up by 11.4%, and general nonfiction also increased by 8.8% over the year. However, declines in other nonfiction categories led to an overall 1% decline in total adult nonfiction sales compared to 2018, when nonfiction sales were up by 4.9% over 2017 thanks to strong sales of Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Trump-related titles Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff and Bob Woodward’s Fear.

Becoming remained the top-selling adult nonfiction title in 2019, selling about 1.2 million copies (compared to more than three million the year before), however unit sales in the biography/autobiography/memoir segment still fell by 9.4%. Without a successful book similar to Wolff or Woodward’s books in 2018, the history/law/politics segment fell by 9.9% in 2019.

In the adult fiction category, print volume sales fell by 2.9% despite Delia Owens’ standout debut novel Where the Crawdads Sing selling almost two million copies in 2019. However the decline in fiction sales was at a slower rate than in 2018, when sales dropped by 4.6%.

Juvenile fiction volume sales in 2019 declined marginally compared to 2018, despite the success of Dav Pilkey’s seventh ‘Dog Man’ book, For Whom the Ball Rolls, which sold over one million copies. Within juvenile fiction, the social situations/family/health category rose by 5.2%, while juvenile nonfiction sales increased by 4.5%.

By format, the only growth in volume sales was in board books and hardcovers, though gains were modest. Mass-market paperback sales, which have been steadily declining for years, fell drastically by 15.3% in 2019, compared to a fall of 6.1% in 2018 on the previous year.


Category: International news