Print book sales up 1.3% in 2018
Print books sales increased by 1.3% in 2018, with 696 million units sold, according to a recent report from the NPD Group.
The holiday season, which included Black Friday week to Christmas week, resulted in flat sales compared to the previous year. However, the week of Christmas resulted in a 24% boost in sales, helping make up for weakness earlier in the month.
Wellness and comfort books, as well as political books, performed particularly well this year, according to the report.
EBooks haven't killed print books yet. In fact, from January to October 2018, eBook sales decreased 3.1% compared to the same period a year prior, according to a press release from the Association of American Publishers.
The title that led the way in print book sales last year was "Becoming" by Michelle Obama, which sold over 3 million copies. Following that were "Magnolia Table" by Joanna Gaines, "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid #13: The Meltdown" by Jeff Kinney and "Fire and Fury" by Michael Wolff, all of which sold over 1 million copies. Comparatively, in 2017 only two titles surpassed that threshold, according to the NPD report.
"Most notably, political books were especially hot sellers last year," Kristen McLean, books industry analyst at The NPD Group, said in a statement. "The pervasiveness of best-selling books that focused on the Trump administration, from both the left and the right, helped the political books category attain one of its best years ever."
Bookstore chains might have rising book sales to thank for stronger end-of year numbers. Barnes and Noble earlier this month released its holiday sales results, which showed a comps increase of 4% between Black Friday and New Year's Day and 1.3% in the nine-week period ending Dec. 29. The retailer, which is still in search of a CEO, attributed the success to an improved website, increased promotions and a new advertising campaign. Amazon (which reports its fourth quarter earnings Thursday after market close) may also benefit from the increase in print book sales through its Amazon Books unit and Prime Book Box subscription program, which expanded in August 2018.