According to data released by NPD Bookscan, the book business’s strong performance from 2020 has continued into 2021.

Unit sales jumped 18.5% in the first six months over the comparable period in 2020, reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer. Notably, backlist sales for titles published more than a year ago enjoyed the strongest gains, rising 21.4%. Frontlist sales were solid, too, rising 12.4%.

“The news was good across the board with all major publishing categories posting double-digit sales increases with only juvenile nonfiction as the exception,” he tells CCC.

“The strength of the graphic novel format is especially noteworthy,” says Albanese. “Graphic novels have been a growing segment for some time, but they are clearly hitting their stride now.”

Graphic novels made up almost 20% of adult fiction unit sales in the first half of 2021, compared to 9.3% last year. Unit sales soared 178.5% in the first six month of this year. With 16.2 million copies sold, graphic novels are now the second-largest adult fiction subcategory.

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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