The lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the highest print book sales in the U.S. in more than a decade, according to sales data analysis from market research firm The NPD Group.
Sales volume of print books sold in the United States in 2020 totaled 751 million units, according to NPD’s analysis, accounting for an 8.2 percent year-over-year increase from 2019. NPD reports that these figures account for the best year for print book sales in the U.S. since 2010.
Much of this growth was led by books in the juvenile fiction genre, the second-largest book category in terms of volume, which totaled sales of 186 million units in 2020, or about a third of all books sold in the U.S. last year. Books in this category saw an 11 percent increase in 2020, accounting for about 18 million more units sold in 2020 than in 2019.
Adult non-fiction print books, which remains the largest category of books in the U.S. by both volume and sales revenue, increased 4.8 percent in 2020 to total 309 million units, or approx. 14 million more units sold than in 2019. Adult fiction followed, selling eight million more books year-over-year to total 138 million units. Juvenile non-fiction grew 23 percent, or by about 14 million books, to total 77 million units.
|U.S. print book top 10 bestsellers in 2020|
2020’s top seller was former President Barack Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land,” which sold 2.68 million copies. Young adult novel “Midnight Sun,” penned by "Twilight" series author Stephenie Meyer, was second. Of the top 10 books sold in the U.S. in 2020, more than half were aimed at the juvenile or young adult market.
Data for the NPD Group/NPD BookScan findings were derived from an analysis of book sales for the 52 consecutive weeks ending Jan 2, 2021.