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USA’s Top-Selling Print Books of 2012 from Nielsen

By Hannah Johnson

Nielsen released its lists of America’s top-selling print books in 2012 yesterday. These lists were compiled using Nielsen BookScan data from January 2–December 2, 2012, and includes sales from about 75% of the American print book market.

On the non-fiction list, No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton/Penguin) takes the top spot. Owen, a Navy Seal who was part of the team that killed Osama bin Laden in [date], gives readers “a first-person account the planning and execution” of the mission. The book was published without the Pentagon’s knowledge, which created some controversy. As The Daily Beast reports, the book’s account of events “was at odds with the Obama White House’s version in some key respects.”

On the fiction list, it probably comes as no surprise that the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (Vintage/Random House) tops the list, taking spots 1-4 (the boxed set of all three books is at number 4). First published two years ago, this trilogy has reported sold more than 35 million copies in the USA alone, and introduced many readers to erotica literature. Publishers of erotic fiction have reported increased interest in their books from readers and overseas publishers.

On the children’s and young adult list, The Hunger Games trilogy dominates this category, taking spots 1–6 and 8. The first book in the series was published by Scholastic in 2008 and has been sold into 38 territories and translated into 26 languages. If the books weren’t popular enough with teens and young adults alike, the 2012 film adaptation from Lionsgate appears on Nielsen’s list of top DVD sales for the year at spot number two.

Here are Nielsen’s lists of top print book sales for 2012:

Top 10 Print Book Sales of 2012 — Adult Non-Fiction

  1. No Easy Day (Hardcover) by Mark Owen (published by Dutton Books on 9/1/2012)
  2. Jesus Calling (Hardcover) by Sarah Young (published by Integrity Publishers on 10/1/2004)
  3. Killing Lincoln (Hardcover) by Bill O’Reilly (published by Henry Holt on 9/1/2011)
  4. Killing Kennedy (Hardcover) by Bill O’Reilly (published by Henry Holt on 10/1/2012)
  5. Strengths Finder 2.0 (Hardcover) by Tom Rath (published by Gallup Press on 2/1/2007)
  6. Heaven Is For Real (Trade Paperback) by Todd Burpo (published by Thomas Nelson on 11/1/2010)
  7. Unbroken (Hardcover) by Laura Hillenbrand (published by Random House on 11/1/2010)
  8. American Sniper (Hardcover) by Chris Kyle (published by William Morrowon 1/1/2012)
  9. Bossypants (Trade Paperback) by Tina Fey (published by Reagan Arthur Books on 1/1/2012)
  10. Steve Jobs (Hardcover) by Walter Isaacson (published by Simon & Schuster on 10/1/2011)

Top 10 Print Book Sales of 2012 — Adult Fiction

  1. Fifty Shades Of Grey (Trade Paperback) by E. L. James (published by Vintage on 4/1/2012)
  2. Fifty Shades Darker (Trade Paperback) by E. L. James (published by Vintage on 4/1/2012)
  3. Fifty Shades Freed (Trade Paperback) by E. L. James (published by Vintage on 4/1/2012)
  4. Fifty Shades Trilogy (Boxed Set) by E. L. James (published by Vintage on 6/1/2012)
  5. Gone Girl (Hardcover) by Gillian Flynn (published by Crown on 6/1/2012)
  6. The Casual Vacancy (Hardcover) by J. K. Rowling (published by Little Brown on 9/1/2012)
  7. Bared To You (Trade Paperback) by Sylvia Day (published by Berkley on 6/1/2012)
  8. The Racketeer (Hardcover) by John Grisham (published by Doubleday on 10/1/2012)
  9. The Lucky One (Mass Market Paperback) by Nicholas Sparks (published by Grand Central on 3/1/2012)
  10. The Last Boyfriend (Trade Paperback) by Nora Roberts (published by Berkley on 5/1/2012)

Top 10 Print Book Sales of 2012 – Children and Young Adults

  1. The Hunger Games (Trade Paperback) by Suzanne Collins (published by Scholastic on 7/1/2010)
  2. Catching Fire (Hardcover) by Suzanne Collins (published by Scholastic on 9/1/2009)
  3. Mockingjay (Hardcover) by Suzanne Collins (published by Scholastic on 8/1/2010)
  4. The Third Wheel (Hardcover) by Jeff Kinney (published by Amulet Books on 11/1/2012)
  5. The Hunger Games (Hardcover) by Suzanne Collins (published by Scholastic on 10/1/2008)
  6. The Hunger Games (Trade Paperback) by Suzanne Collins (published by Scholastic on 2/1/2012)
  7. The Mark Of Athena (Hardcover) by Rick Riordan (published by Hyperion on 10/1/2012)
  8. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Boxed Set) by Suzanne Collins (published by Scholastic on 8/1/2010)
  9. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 6 (Hardcover) by Jeff Kinney (published by Abrams on 11/1/2011)
  10. The Serpent’s Shadow (Hardcover) by Rick Riordan (published by Hyperion on 5/1/2012)

Source: Nielsen BookScan
Data from January 2, 2012 – December 2, 2012. Nielsen BookScan’s US Consumer Market Panel currently covers approximately 75% of the print book market and continues to grow. BookScan does not track sales from Wal-Mart.

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