Circana BookScan on March 2024: US Print Books 2 Percent Under 2023

In News by Porter Anderson

The Circana BookScan analysis of the US print market in March shows that Q1 2024 was 15 percent ahead of where it was in 2019.

The Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day in March. Image = Getty iStockphoto: KKStock

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

Six Million Units Below the March 2023 Level
In her new at the United States’ print book sales market in March, analyst and senior executive director Kristen McLean at  Circana BookScan from Circana Entertainment Knowledge Group sees a mixed picture in the rear-view mirror.

“While 2024’s Easter sales peak out-performed the same period in 2023,” she writes, “other areas of softness including slower Dr. Seuss Month sales [so named for Theodor Geisel’s March 2 birthday], softer adult nonfiction sales, and tough comps to some big books last year all combined to bring the month in 2 percent under March 2023.

Kristen McLean

“The net result,” McLean says, “was a year-to-date finish of -3 percent on a unit basis, on a volume of 195 million units in Q1, which is 6 million units below the same point last year.”

As she points out, however, smart context reminds us that this is 15 percent ahead of Q1 2019.

“The market is still very healthy compared to before the pandemic,” McLean writes in her summation, “a positive signal in and of itself.”

Image: Circana BookScan through the week ending April 6, 2024. US print sales only

Top 10 US Print Bestsellers: March 2024

In terms of the Top 10 bestsellers that McLean faithfully provides, we have first the adult bestsellers for March, followed by the Top 10 children’s titles.

Note that the adult bestsellers also incorporate YA, young adult, titles rather than combining them with children’s books, as is often done.

Image: Circana BookScan, 5 weeks ending April 6, 2024, adult and young adult combined. US print sales only

In children’s US market bestsellers for March, McLean points out that 80 percent of the list’s titles aer “spring seasonal” books, the internationally popular Dav Pilkey grabbing the top spot with Dog Man: The Scarlett Shedder from Scholastic.

Image: Circana BookScan, 5 weeks ending April 6, 2024, juvenile market. US print sales only

More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here, and more on Circana research here. 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.