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

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., September 17, 2018 – 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.

Print Book Category Growth Led by Adult Non-Fiction Titles

Adult non-fiction print book sales increased 4 percent in the first half of 2018, with 136 million units sold. In addition to politics and cooking, religion and self-help book sales also continued to grow, posting 6 percent and 12 percent increases respectively.

“Blockbuster nonfiction titles are spearheading this year’s growth in print book sales,” said Kristen Mclean, books industry analyst for NPD.  “The presence of politics on the charts is unparalleled, ‘Fire and Fury,’ ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ and ‘A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo’ all in the top ten. The heightened interest in politics extends beyond the news cycle, with sales of political books posting their highest sales volume in the past fifteen years. At the same time, double-digit growth in the cookbook category is also bolstering overall nonfiction sales.

Adult fiction print sales declined 4 percent, falling to 63 million units in the first half of 2018. The steepest declines in the adult fiction category came from the religious-fiction and romance sub-categories. Mystery-detective and sci-fi were bright spots, posting 5 percent and 18 percent growth respectively.

Following are the top-selling print book titles for the first half of 2018:

Rank Title Author Publisher Pub. Date
1 Fire and Fury Michael Wolff Macmillan 1/1/2018
2 Magnolia Table Joanna Gaines HarperCollins 4/1/2018
3 A Higher Loyalty James Comey Macmillan 4/1/2018
4 A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle Macmillan 5/1/2007
5 Dog Man and Cat Kid Dav Pilkey Scholastic 12/1/2017
6 A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo Marlon Bundo Chronicle 3/1/2018
7 12 Rules for Life Jordan B. Peterson Penguin Random House 1/1/2018
8 Oh, The Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss Penguin Random House 1/1/1990
9 The President is Missing James Patterson, Bill Clinton Hachette Book Group 6/1/2018
10 You Are a Badass Jen Sincero Hachette Book Group 4/1/2013


Source: The NPD Group /NPD BookScan and PubTrack Digital, January – June, 2018.


NPD BookScan provides point-of-sale 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.


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