Year-To-Date Sales of Travel Books on the Rise in U.S., Reports NPD

Turnaround Seen in Print Book Category Sales After Years of Declines

Port Washington, NY, August 14, 2017– According to global information provider The NPD Group, through the end of July 2017, print travel books have experienced 2 percent growth in unit sales, and an overall compound annual growth rate of 1 percent from 2014 to 2016 in the U.S. This is a notable turnaround after a steep 44 percent decline from 2010-2014, and proof that readers are returning to print guidebooks even in the digital age.

Six out of 10 of the top designated market areas (DMA) in the U.S. are showing year-to-date growth in Travel Guides, with exceptional sales growth in Tampa, FL, Detroit, Phoenix, AZ, Minneapolis, and Sacramento, CA. The DMA index shows that there is a much greater interest for travel books on the West Coast and Pacific Northwest, especially in higher income areas.

Year-to-date travel guide sales also show a change in consumer interest for regions outside of the U.S., with notable growth in books on Scandinavia, South Africa, and Canada. Regions in decline include France, Western Europe, Turkey, and Central America. There are also changes in areas of interest in the United States, with sales of books about the Pacific West and Western Mountains increasing, while those about New England and the South declining.

Best Selling Travel Guides/Destination Books (based on units sold)

Title Author Publisher
Atlas Obscura Joshua Foer Workman Publishing
Birnbaum's 2017 Walt Disney World Birnbaum Guides Disney
Rick Steves Italy 2017 Rick Steves Hachette Book Group
Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook Andrew Doughty Ingram Book Company
Rick Steves Ireland 2017 Rick Steves Hachette Book Group
Rick Steves Paris 2017 Rick Steves Hachette Book Group
The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook Andrew Doughty Ingram Book Company
Hawaii the Big Island Revealed Andrew Doughty Ingram Book Company
The MILEPOST 2017 Morris Communications Company  Morris Communications Company
Rick Steves Spain 2017 Rick Steves  Hachette Book Group


“Sales of travel books in the best-selling destinations are up, likely because they share a certain sense of romance, aspiration, and adventure without being politically or historically charged in any way at the current time,” said Kristen McLean, industry analyst for NPD Books.

Eighty-six of the top 100 markets have been showing strong and sustained growth in Special Interest Travel books, in categories including memoirs, essays, photographic travel books, and how-to guides on a wide range of specialties including adventure travel, travelling with families and pets, and LGBT travel.  “These books fit into a certain escapist pleasure category, as people seek to be transported to new and interesting places via the pages of a book,” said McLean.

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