In 2021, first-quarter book sales soared 29.2% over the same period in 2020.
Unit sales were 183.9 million in the most recent quarter — down from 201.9 million in 2021, although 16% more than for the first quarter of 2020.
“After the steady growth we’ve seen over the last two years, an 8.9 percent drop is a big number,” notes Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “But it’s not unexpected.”
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“The only category to post a meaningful increase in the quarter was adult fiction,” Albanese tells me.
“For years we talked about the worrying decline in adult fiction sales. Well, that has turned around,” he observes. “The lingering question after the pandemic is whether the publishing industry sold more books to existing customers or brought in more readers. Almost certainly, the industry has won back some readers and minted some new ones.”