After a Slow Start, U.S. Print Book Sales Rose 8.2 Percent in 2020, The NPD Group Says

Last year was the bestselling year for U.S. print books in the last decade

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., January 7, 2021 – Print book sales in the United States had their best year since 2010. Growth occurred across every major supercategory, including adult non-fiction, adult fiction, juvenile, and teen categories. Unit-sales volume in 2020 rose 8.2 percent, year over year, to reach 751 million units, according to The NPD Group (

“The U.S. consumer book market looks very different today, than it did back in April,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD. “Sales growth came in waves, from the sudden need to educate kids at home, to the super-heated political cycle. All of the additional time people spent at home created a big appetite for reading, including huge spikes in sales of cookbooks and do-it-yourself books, which helped people stay entertained and engaged.”

Juvenile fiction comprised one-third of all U.S. books market growth

Growth in print books was led by juvenile fiction, which contributed one-third of all U.S. books market growth.

Juvenile fiction print books, the second largest category on a volume basis, increased 11 percent, selling 18 million more units in 2020 compared to 2019. Adult non-fiction print books, the largest category of books in the U.S. by both volume and sales revenue, increased 4.8 percent (14 million units), year over year, in 2020. Juvenile non-fiction grew 23 percent (14 million units).

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