A recent story in Publisher’s Weekly noted that sales of printed books were up 9.5% in the US for the week ending Oct 31, year over year. While the jump was led by books for children and young adults (a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid), adult titles, including a new Lee Childs and Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights, also sold well.
It was only one week’s worth of data but it was good news, and it occurred to me that it wasn’t the first story I’d read in the last month with good news about book sales. I went back and checked. And holy.
Turns out adult trade books, notwithstanding a pandemic that ground the industry to a halt last spring, are up 9 percent through the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. For perspective, the annual fluctuation in book sales is usually up or down 2 or 3 percent.
Four of the Big Five global publishers have reported financial results in the last ten days, all stellar (the fifth, Macmillan, as a private company, doesn’t regularly report).
At Hachette, U.S. sales jumped 19%, year over year, in the third quarter. The company attributes that success to Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun and Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, and “another massive #1 bestseller” by Nicholas Sparks, The Return, among other titles.
Hachette UK was up 15.6%