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Book sales in the US fell 6.6% in the first half

According to Publishers Weekly, US book sales dropped 6.6% year-over-year for the first half of 2022 but remain 15% higher than the same period in 2019 – the last pre-pandemic year.

The number of print units sold for the period totaled 362.6 million, down from 386.6 million a year ago. All major categories declined, except adult fiction. A drop of 10.3% was recorded in adult nonfiction, the biggest category in the industry.

The frontlist (books released within the past 12 months) dropped 11.7%, while the backlist fell 4.1%. Five titles by BookTok favourite Colleen Hoover topped the bestseller list for the first half of the year, helping adult fiction gain 4.6%. Sales of romance titles increased 33%, while graphic novels increased 10.5%.

In spite of having the overall bestselling title with James Clear’s Atomic Habits, adult nonfiction sales declined in all categories except travel. There was a 17.7% drop in general nonfiction titles, a 16.1% fall in reference titles, and a 15.3% drop in biography/autobiography/memoir titles.