NPD BookScan: US Market Steady, Weekly Print Volume Up 2 Percent

In News by Porter Anderson

The US market, heading to summer’s end, is stable in print sales, at 457 million units year-to-date, in NPD BookScan’s report.

At Ocean City, Maryland, August 3. Image – Getty iStockphoto: EuroBanks

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

55 Million Units Over 2019
In the week ending August 20, the NPD Group‘s NPD BookScan tracking of print sales in the United States indicated what industry analyst and NPD Books executive director Kristen McLean calls “another solid week.”

In her interpretation–in what she points out are called “the dog days of summer” in American culture—”The market continues to hold at 6-percent lower for the year-to-date on a weekly volume of 14.2 million units, up 2 percent from last week.

“Sales are at a year-to-date volume of 457 million units,” she says.

“That’s 27 million units under 2021,” which is unchanged from the previous week, and “55 million units over 2019—growing by 1 million from last week.”

McLean also makes an interesting point relative to a quite controversial announcement by Joe Biden on Wednesday (August 24). Biden’s plan for forgiveness of some student-loan debt has triggered a contentious debate among politicians and economists, but McLean steps around the fray to point out that “a package of student loan forgiveness benefits for those earning under US$125,000 a year could generate some optimism heading into the holiday season.”

In her key chart this time, McLean points out, “The market rode a nice nonfiction wave—driven by games and activities—and adult fiction as summer vacations continued.”

She sees no signs that the current market is any softer than it was in the third quarter of 2020 and 2021. And at this point, she reports, year-to-date performance has been “relatively steady since week 15,” which was the week ending April 17.

Image: The NPD Group/NPD BookScan, through the week ending August 20, 2022, US print sales only

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall McLean’s recent analysis of the 1974 Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game’s success, linking it to the American market’s fastest growing licensed book property in the second quarter of this year,  Stranger Things as seen in Netflix‘s series.

In her report on bestsellers in the States, she cites Spelljammer: Adventures in Space from the Dungeons & Dragons line, as one of three new releases from the week that moved right onto the charts.

Image: The NPD Group/NPD BookScan, through the week ending August 20, 2022, US print sales only

More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here, more on the NPD Group’s work is here, more on the work of Kristen McLean is here, and more on the United States book industry is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.