Curled up with a good book lately? You are not alone. The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic have sparked a book boom in the U.S. as Americans seek escapist fiction, how-to guides and home-schooling materials for their kids. We’re talking old-fashioned, actual books here, not online fare.
Some 322.1 million of them were sold in the first six months of the year according to BookScan, an industry source — an increase of 2.8% compared to this time last year.
“After posting soft sales for the past several years, the adult fiction category had a 2.9% increase in the first six months of 2020, as booksellers reported more people looking for titles that provide an escape from the drumbeat of coronavirus news,” reported Publishers Weekly.
General fiction and graphic novels led the fiction surge, with sales up by 10.3%. Americans also could not get enough of hobby, craft and cook books, along with gaming, antique and entertainment guides. Sales were up by 31% among how-to and DIY books.
Other genres have lost their appeal. Sales of non-fiction titles have fallen 3.4% — with a 42% plunge in travel titles and “double-digit declines in the business/economics, health/fitness/medicine/sports, computers, and religion,” the publication said.
Pandemic-related homeschooling also has boosted sales of children’s books to unexpected heights, including a spot in the top-10 bestsellers list.
“The juvenile nonfiction segment had the biggest gain, with units jumping 25.5% over 2019. The leader in the category was My First Learn-to-Write Workbook by Crystal Radke, which sold more than 379,000 copies, placing the $8.99 title in ninth place on the overall bestseller list for the first half of the year,” said Publishers Weekly — which also noted a huge jump in sales for “classic” children’s books.