Sales of print books continue to climb, with unit sales up 1.9% in 2017 over 2016, according to NPD Bookscan (which captures an estimated 80-85% of total print sales): 687.2 million books were sold in every format, up from 674.1 million in 2016. Print sales have climbed every year since 2013, and are now 10.8% above that year’s numbers.
Most of the increase comes from bookstores and online retailers, which saw an increase of 3.5% over 2016. Sales in the mass merchandise channel – which is to say, retailers that aren’t primarily bookstores – declined 6.7%, following a general downward trend.
In terms of categories, adult fiction sales suffered a bit, falling by 0.7%, while fiction for younger readers increased 7.8%. Adult non-fiction went up 2.9%, and juvenile non-fiction 2.1%.
When it comes to format, hardcovers are still thriving (up 3.6%, with 173,483 copies sold), along with trade paperbacks (up 1.5%, with 355,737), while mass market paperbacks continue to lose ground, declining 6.5% in 2017 (55,577 copies, down from 59,357 in 2016). The move toward digital audio means sales of audiobooks on CD suffered, too, down 13.3% to 3,327 copies.