Books Market Research & Business Solutions

What are consumers reading? Are they buying books in print, or digital format? Are they devouring Fiction, or Non-fiction? Frontlist, or backlist works? What are the best sellers this month across the juvenile and adult book markets?

To help our clients answer these questions and navigate the rapidly changing U.S. publishing market, our Books industry team relies on both retail and consumer tracking to measure sales of physical and digital books, across all channels.

With NPD BookScan™, we track purchases at the point-of-sale from all major retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, independent bookstores, and more. We also hear what Americans are reading, directly from more than 55,000 U.S. book buyers themselves, so we can help you identify buyer demographics, attitudes, behaviors, and purchase factors.

Our books industry experts know the publishing world inside and out, helping our publishers and retailers make better, faster decisions.

See What's Happening in Today's Licensed Book Market

Listen to a recording of our recent webinar that explores U.S. licensed book market trends. Learn the hot and not-so-hot licenses, see how they're ranked by category, and hear about how the licensed book industry is likely to fare this year.


NPD BookScan™

NPD BookScan™ is the gold standard in POS tracking for the publishing market. It covers approximately 85 percent of trade 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.  Data is available to subscribing publishers and contributing retailers, just four days after the period ends, via the NPD BookScan dashboard.

BookScan License Reporting Service

For the first time ever, publishers and licensors can get a total view of their licensed and branded books to identify cross-industry opportunities, benchmark and track brand sales trends over time, and understand the formats, pricing, and categories that perform best in a license program.

NPD PubTrack Digital™

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

NPD PubTrack Higher Ed™

NPD PubTrack Higher Ed™ is the premier market intelligence source for the college textbook publishing industry. This service compiles textbook sales information from institutions nationwide to provide the college publishing industry with intelligence tools that can be used in sales, editorial, and marketing.

NPD PubTrack Christian™

NPD PubTrack Christian™ is a data warehouse, aggregation, and analysis system that provides access to weekly book sales information from 225 Christian retail stores.  Additionally, NPD PubTrack Christian is a collaborative publisher data-sharing program, which provides a complete channel view of the Christian book market.

NPD Books & Consumers

NPD Books & Consumers, the leading consumer tracker for the publishing industry, gathers data annually from more than 55,000 unique U.S. book buyers ages 13-84. The information covers a wide range of attitudes, behaviors, and purchase factors. NPD Books & Consumers data also includes full demographic profiles and ISBN-verified data on more than 100,000 book purchases per year.

Analytic Solutions

NPD’s Analytic Solutions group includes senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that help clients predict areas of risk and growth to improve marketing and product development. By combining NPD’s unique data assets and industry expertise with state-of-the-discipline research techniques and proprietary solutions, our Analytic Solutions team is able to answer clients’ most pressing business questions.


Press Releases

February 11, 2019

One in Four 2018 Children’s Books in the U.S. Featured a Licensed Property, The NPD Group Says

Licensed books, featuring popular characters from movies, TV, games, toys and lifestyle brands, made up 12 percent of total sales and 26 percent of juvenile sales in the U.S., market in 2018.

January 16, 2019

Bestseller Success Led US Print Books Industry Growth in 2018, The NPD Group Says

2018 marked another year of modest growth for the print books industry in the United States. Print books sales volume grew 1.3 percent compared to last year with 696 million units sold.

September 17, 2018

Print Book Sales Rose 2 Percent in the First Half of 2018, The NPD Group Says

Print book sales are trending upward, due to growth in adult nonfiction titles, specifically religious books, cookbooks, and political books. Sales volume in the first half of 2018 rose 2 percent, year over year, to reach 317 million units, according to The NPD Group.

July 31, 2018

Cookbook Category Sales Rose 21 Percent, Year over Year, The NPD Group Says

Cookbook category sales are rising faster than warm dough so far this year. In fact, sales grew 21 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017.

June 19, 2018

Political Books Drove Growth in Print Book Sales, The NPD Group Says

Political e-books are also one of the few categories experiencing growth in digital book sales.

April 4, 2018

Instapoets Rekindling U.S. Poetry Book Sales, The NPD Group Says

The rising popularity of poetry on social media is driving a resurgence in poetry book sales in the United States. In fact according to global information company The NPD Group, twelve of the top 20 bestselling poetry authors in 2017 were “Instapoets,” who combine their original poetry with images, creating highly shareable posts on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media platforms. In fact, almost half (47 percent) of poetry books sold in the U.S. last year were written by Instapoets. Alongside the rise in Instapoets, the poetry book category in the United States has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent since 2015, making it one of the fastest growing categories in publishing.

March 23, 2018

Licensed Books Were 28 Percent of U.S. Children’s Book Sales in 2017, The NPD Group Says

Licensed books feature popular characters from movies, TV, games, toys, and lifestyle brands, where the publisher has paid the original intellectual property owner for the right to publish the character or property in book form. For all books sold in 2017, licenses made up 12 percent of sales, reaching 85 million units, and 28 percent of all children’s book sales last year, with 63 million units sold, according to global information company The NPD Group.

January 22, 2018

NPD BookScan Recaps the Year in Books 2017

Without Harry Potter and other leading franchise titles upping the ante, print book sales in the United States returned to a more standard year for the industry in 2017. Unit sales of books increased 1.9 percent in 2017, which is slightly less than annual growth rates of 3 percent posted between 2013 to 2016, according to global information company The NPD Group.

December 20, 2017

Familiar Classics Lead Top 10 Holiday Book Sales for 2017

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, 9 are older titles, while just one was published this year.

December 4, 2017

Book Sales Bright for the Holidays, Even as Annual Growth Declines Slightly

While the annual unit sales growth of print books is expected to be slightly weaker this year than in the previous two years, global information company The NPD Group predicts a strong holiday season with 5 percent unit sales growth in the remaining five weeks. The print books market is on track to grow 2 percent in volume for the year, which is an underperformance against the annual growth rate of 3 percent in 2015 and 2016.


February 19, 2019

Wedding and Baby Gift Registries – Up Close

In this infographic, see the top products consumers register for and gifts purchased for wedding and baby registries—all at the retailer-level.

February 4, 2019

Spider-Man Climbs To Success Across the Entertainment Spectrum

A great example of a license that took advantage of this cross-pollination is Spider-Man. Here’s a look at the latest trends since the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie release on July 7, 2017

November 1, 2018

5 Things Smart Industries Are Doing to Engage Consumers

In this paper, released at Summer Outdoor Retailer, NPD's Industry Advisor Matt Powell looks to growing industries' strategies to fuel the outdoor sports market.

October 17, 2018

E-commerce Trends You Can't Ignore

The emergence of the endless aisle has created stiff competition for brands and retailers trying to win online. Uncover the latest e-commerce trends across fashion, home, and technology. Read on to see how successful brands and retailers are winning by leveraging digital content to engage with consumers.

August 3, 2018

3 Ways to Foster a Seamless Consumer Experience in the Future

In the future, brands and retailers will adapt to increased consumer demand for more seamless experiences. See how this will impact every aspect of their lives—from the kitchen to the gym.

June 7, 2018

10 Trends You Should Know About Kids’ Licensed Products

Licensed products make up one quarter of U.S. unit sales for children ages 14 and under, across 17 industries. From backpacks to coloring books, to t-shirts and games, kids love the company of Harry Potter and Doctor Seuss characters alike. What industries, categories, and products are doing well across licensing, and how can licensed products fuel your business?

February 12, 2018

What's Happening in Today's Licensed Book Market

Listen to a recording of our recent webinar that explores U.S. licensed book market trends. Learn the hot and not-so-hot licenses, see how they're ranked by category, and hear about how the licensed book industry is likely to fare this year.

Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts

December 18, 2018

Foodies and Homebodies Rejoice – This Holiday Season is All About Lifestyle Books

According to NPD’s 2018 Holiday Purchase Intentions Report one in five consumers plans to purchase books for the holidays.  Lifestyle books (think cookbooks and home) are front and center on in-store displays and top-of-mind for buyers.  These categories have been driving much of the growth in non-fiction this year with cookbook sales up 23 percent, so far this year and house and home sales up 24 percent.  I expect this holiday season to be the strongest we’ve ever seen for cookbooks, since NPD began tracking book sales in 2004.

Recent titles by beloved media personalities like Joanna Gaines’ Homebody, Ina Garten’s Cook Like a Pro, and Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Teacup are perfectly giftable titles that will sit at the top of the charts this season.  And while these types of books are always present around the holidays, November 2018 sales of the top five cooking and home books were more than double last year’s levels.

The fact that consumers are gravitating toward cooking and home books is not surprising, given recent success in the home products industry.  People are spending more time in their own homes, and they are willing to invest in improving their living spaces.  Books that promise readers an enhanced home life, either through decorating or cooking, will attract buyers in today’s environment.

One thing is clear: publishers and retailers that can appeal to homebodies and foodies will enjoy a larger piece of the pie this holiday season.

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