US Market: A Mother’s Day Bump That ‘Didn’t Materialize’

In News by Porter Anderson

The Circana Books Media Report for the week ending May 13 discusses ‘some complicated drivers’ behind US book sales this Mother’s Day.

At Pike Place Market in Seattle. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Lembi Buchanan

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

‘Organic Declines’
As we return from an extended coverage stay at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which closes Sunday (May 28), one report we want to share with our readers is from Circana Books where executive director and industry analyst Kristen McLean tells the news media, “Although this was the last week before Mother’s Day” in the United States, “the late Mother’s Day bump we expected didn’t materialize.

“The US book market ended down 353,000 units from last week, with some complicated drivers.”

The key factors behind the decline, McLean says, “had nothing to do with the holiday. They included organic drop-offs from [the previous] week’s strong debuts in the juvenile and young adult categories, titles like the overall No. 1 Taylor Swift: A Little Golden Book Biography,” by Wendy Loggia with illustrations by Elisa Chavarri, from Penguin Random House.

That title, McLean’s research shows, “sold about one-third as much in week 19.

“While adult categories were up,” she says, “there wasn’t enough volume to offset these organic declines, especially in adult nonfiction.”

The United States’ print market ended the week down 2 percent on a weekly volume of 13 million units, virtually unchanged” from the previous week.

Nevertheless, “The market is 33 million units ahead of 2019,” McLean points out, “which is basically two to three extra weeks of volume year-to-date.”

Image: Circana BookScan through the week ending May 13, 2023; US print sales only

As McLean points out in looking at Circana BookScan’s Top 10 titles for the US market week ending May 13, “Colleen Hoover’s brief disappearance from the Top 10 ended, reducing the recent frontlist presence on the list from nine to seven spots.”

Image: Circana BookScan through the week ending May 13, 2023; US print sales only

More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here, and more on the NPD Group’s work is here—this spring, an acquisition has changed the name to Circana. More on the work of Kristen McLean is here, and more on the United States book industry 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.