After a Slow Start, U.S. Print Book Sales Rose 8.2 Percent in 2020, The NPD Group Says

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Last year was the bestselling year for books in the last decade

2020 U.S. Books Supercategory Performance

All of the additional time people spent at home created a big appetite for reading, including huge spikes in sales of cookbooks and do-it-yourself books, which helped people stay entertained and engaged.

Print book sales in the United States had their best year since 2010. Growth occurred across every major supercategory, including adult non-fiction, adult fiction, juvenile, and teen categories. Unit-sales volume in 2020 rose 8.2 percent, year over year, to reach 751 million units, according to The NPD Group (http://www.npd.com).

“The U.S. consumer book market looks very different today than it did back in April,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD. “Sales growth came in waves, from the sudden need to educate kids at home, to the super-heated political cycle. All of the additional time people spent at home created a big appetite for reading, including huge spikes in sales of cookbooks and do-it-yourself books, which helped people stay entertained and engaged.”

Juvenile fiction comprised one-third of all U.S. books market growth

Growth in print books was led by juvenile fiction, which contributed one-third of all U.S. books market growth.
Juvenile fiction print books, the second largest category on a volume basis, increased 11 percent, selling 18 million more units in 2020 compared to 2019. Adult non-fiction print books, the largest category of books in the U.S. by both volume and sales revenue, increased 4.8 percent (14 million units), year over year, in 2020. Juvenile non-fiction grew 23 percent (14 million units).

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About NPD BookScan
NPD BookScan is the gold standard in point-of-sale tracking for the publishing market, covering approximately 85 percent of all the print books sold in the U.S. through direct reporting from all major retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, independent bookstores, and many others. Each sale of the more than 13 million units tracked on a weekly basis includes geographic information making it possible to identify key markets, map regional sales trends, and index the likelihood of purchase in 200 major metro areas. NPD BookScan is also the exclusive provider of ALR data for Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, and Sam’s Club to U.S. publishers.

NPD PubTrack Digital offers a comprehensive view of today’s digital book market. Featuring information from more than 450 participants, including small, medium, and large U.S. publishers, this service provides unprecedented access to the top 80 percent of the traditionally published e-book market.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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