According to Publishers Weekly, the pandemic changed book-buying patterns. One obvious change: The travel book subcategory had a severe decline last year, with units plunging 40.3% compared to 2019.

Overall, sales were up in 2020. BookScan said the 8.2% gain was the largest annual increase since 2010. When schools shut, parents’ demand for hard copy juvenile nonfiction titles jumped 23.1% Big Preschool Work sold nearly 790,000 copies, while Crystal Radke’s My First Learn-to-Write Workbook sold more than 703,000 copies.

In YA nonfiction, anti-racism books helped drive gains. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds was #1 on the category list, selling more than 317,000 copies, while This Book Is Anti-racist by Tiffany Jewell sold more than 76,000 copies.

Adult fiction sales rose 6% over 2019. The hottest subcategory was graphic novels, where sales rose 29%. (The action/adventure subcategory had the toughest year, with units down 14.9%.)

Political books -not the spin or puff pieces- but books tied to social justice topics, helped lift sales in adult nonfiction 4.8% over 2019.

Our industry is alive and well despite the troubled times.




  1. mimispeike says:

    This makes sense to me. You’re sticking close to home, what do you do? I pound away at Maisie, not everyone has a big project to keep them busy,

    Some peruse the news endlessly. (I do that too.) Reading would be a more profitable activity for sure.

    My favorite place to buy books has long been the library sales. Not for the price. (That doesn’t hurt) For the incredible trove of often out of print, rarely encountered material.

    No library sales going on with the Covid, I don’t think. But I can’t go anyway. My husband is having difficulty walking, and I’m not far behind him. Ploughing through those tables of treasures, and lugging heavy boxes home, is beyond us at this point.

    But I’m glad books are selling. That means they’re still being published, good news for all of us.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    It’s the nonfiction – YA and Juvenile – that took the biggest jumps. Could it be related to learning at home, rather than a primarily recreational activity?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    Not much participation this week. I could talk some more about my work. I can always talk about my work. Interesting to me that others don’t seem to feel the same about theirs.

    I will never get tired of talking about Maisie and Sly. GD, I’ll prepare another piece and put it in posts. I don’t ask you to run it. I only say, use it when you have run out of alternatives.

    Hey, anybody know what’s going on with Athys? I worry about him. Has he given up?

    That’s a real temptation, isn’t it? But Maisie and Sly won’t let me give up.

    Liked by 2 people

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