Familiar Classics Lead Top 10 Holiday Book Sales for 2017

Holiday books answer the need for nostalgia, comfort and family time

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., December 19, 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.

Following are the top 10 holiday titles for kids, based on unit sales from January 1, 2017 to December 10, 2017:

Rank Title Publisher Publish Date
1 Little Blue Truck's Christmas Houghton Mifflin Co 9/1/14
2 Polar Express 30th Anniversary Houghton Mifflin Co 9/1/15
3 How The Grinch Stole Christmas Random House Children's Books 10/1/1957
4 How To Catch An Elf Sourcebooks Inc 10/1/16
5 Llama Llama Holiday Drama Penguin/Putnam Trade 10/1/17
6 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Random House Inc 8/1/00
7 The Night Before Christmas Random House 9/1/11
8 Pete The Cat Saves Christmas Harpercollins Publishers 9/1/14
9 The Night Before Christmas Hachette Book Group 8/1/05
10 The Night Before Christmas Simon & Schuster 10/1/13

Source: The NPD Group / NPD BookScan U.S. Retail Sales through December 10, 2017.

“The latest toys, gadgets and video games get a lot of attention over the holidays, but giving books remains an important tradition in many families,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for The NPD Group. “After all, it’s an affordable way to create warm memories at the holidays. It also plays into a larger holiday trend toward nostalgia, comfort and family time across many retail categories this year.”


Room for “New Classics”

Even though perennial favorites like “The Night Before Christmas”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” comprise forty percent of total units sales in this year’s top 10 holiday ranking, there is also room on the list for new classics. For example, Alice Shertle’s top-ranked “Little Blue Truck's Christmas” board book is well on its way to being one of those classics. It has been the best-selling holiday title for three years running, with a total of 628,800 units sold since it was first published in 2014. Still, it has a way to go to catch up with Chris Van Allsburg’s modern classic “Polar Express,” which has held the second-ranked spot for the last three years, and which has sold a remarkable 2.7 million copies since 2001, when Bookscan started tracking sales.

Both of these stories will have to work very hard to catch up to everyone’s favorite Christmas curmudgeon in a sleigh, The Grinch. Dr. Seuss’ classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a perennial holiday best-seller has sold 1.8M copies since 2001, and tens of millions of copies since it was first published in 1954.

“At the end of the day, holidays are all about the tried and true when it comes to families and books,” McLean said. “At this time of year, parents and grandparents want to pass down beloved traditions to their children and grandchildren, and there is no better way to do that than in the pages of a favorite holiday story.“


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