NPD Bookscan has reported that unit sales of print books fell in the first quarter for 2022, down 8.9% from the same period in 2021.

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 AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer. “But it’s not unexpected.”

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Soaring Book Sales Take A Fall

Adult fiction sales remain a bright spot for publishers’ sales charts, owing largely to the popularity of BookTok favorites Colleen Hoover and Taylor Jenkins Reid.

“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.”

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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