The NPD Group: Familiar Classics Lead Top 10 Holiday Book Sales for 2017

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Holiday books answer the need for nostalgia, comfort and family time

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The latest toys, gadgets and video games get a lot of attention over the holidays, but giving books remains an important tradition in many families.

During the holidays, many families like to get cozy, heat up some hot chocolate and snuggle on the couch with a good book. According to the latest NPD BookScan information from global information company The NPD Group, when it comes to holiday reading, families favor classics over brand new seasonal titles. In fact, unit sales of all holiday titles are up 10 percent so far this year, compared to last year. Among the top 10 holiday titles for kids, nine are older titles, while just one was published this year.

Following are the top 10 holiday titles for kids, based on unit sales from January 1, 2017 to December 10, 2017:

Rank    Title    Publisher    Publish Date
1. Little Blue Truck's Christmas    Houghton Mifflin Co    9/1/14
2. Polar Express 30th Anniversary    Houghton Mifflin Co    9/1/15
3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas    Random House Children's Books    10/1/1957
4. How To Catch An Elf    Sourcebooks Inc    10/1/16
5. Llama Llama Holiday Drama    Penguin/Putnam Trade    10/1/17
6. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer    Random House Inc    8/1/00
7. The Night Before Christmas    Random House    9/1/11
8. Pete The Cat Saves Christmas    Harpercollins Publishers    9/1/14
9. The Night Before Christmas    Hachette Book Group    8/1/05
10. The Night Before Christmas    Simon & Schuster    10/1/13

Source: The NPD Group / NPD BookScan U.S. Retail Sales through December 10, 2017.

“The latest toys, gadgets and video games get a lot of attention over the holidays, but giving books remains an important tradition in many families,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for The NPD Group. “After all, it’s an affordable way to create warm memories at the holidays. It also plays into a larger holiday trend toward nostalgia, comfort and family time across many retail categories this year.”

Room for “New Classics”

Even though perennial favorites like “The Night Before Christmas”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” comprise forty percent of total units sales in this year’s top 10 holiday ranking, there is also room on the list for new classics. For example, Alice Shertle’s top-ranked “Little Blue Truck's Christmas” board book is well on its way to being one of those classics. It has been the best-selling holiday title for three years running, with a total of 628,800 units sold since it was first published in 2014. Still, it has a way to go to catch up with Chris Van Allsburg’s modern classic “Polar Express,” which has held the second-ranked spot for the last three years, and which has sold a remarkable 2.7 million copies since 2001, when Bookscan started tracking sales.

Both of these stories will have to work very hard to catch up to everyone’s favorite Christmas curmudgeon in a sleigh, The Grinch. Dr. Seuss’ classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a perennial holiday best-seller has sold 1.8M copies since 2001, and tens of millions of copies since it was first published in 1954.

“At the end of the day, holidays are all about the tried and true when it comes to families and books,” McLean said. “At this time of year, parents and grandparents want to pass down beloved traditions to their children and grandchildren, and there is no better way to do that than in the pages of a favorite holiday story. “

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD is the leading global provider of market information and business solutions covering brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and emerging channels in more than 20 industries. We combine our unique data assets with analytic solutions to help our clients measure performance, predict trends, and improve results, advising them to help drive successful growth. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, consumer electronics, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdstyle

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