It looks like consumers did a lot of last-minute Christmas shopping, at least for books. After sales of print books were down almost 6% between Thanksgiving week and the week ended December 18, 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, units jumped 21% in the week leading up to Christmas, according to figures from Nielsen BookScan.
The biggest gains in the most recent week came in the juvenile fiction and adult nonfiction segments, which had increases of 25% and 24%, respectively, over the week ended Dec. 27, 2015. The top-selling title in the juvenile fiction category was Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, which sold just under 131,000 copies. Four books by J.K. Rowling were among the six top bestsellers in the category, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them #2 on the category bestsellers list, selling almost 125,000 copies. Altogether, the four Rowling books sold over 300,000 copies in the week.
Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard and The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines were one and two on the adult nonfiction category bestsellers, selling 129,000 copies and more than 96,000 copies, respectively. Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run jumped up to #3 on the category bestsellers list, selling over 72,000 copies.
With the boost provided by the final week before Christmas, print unit sales for the holiday season were up 1.3% over the comparable period a year ago. With one more week to go in the year, unit sales of print books rose about 3% over the same period in 2015.