Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, may have been released late in the year (its pub date was November 13), but that didn’t stop it from easily becoming the bestselling print book of 2018. According to NPD BookScan, Becoming sold 3.4 million print copies in the year, far outpacing Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines, which was in second place with 1.3 million units sold. Obama’s sales peaked in the last full week before Christmas, when her memoir sold over 712,000 copies at outlets that report to BookScan. That figure topped the 710,000 copies it sold in its first week on sale.
Adult nonfiction Aas been the strongest performing category among the major publishing segments this year, and when the final figures are confirmed, unit sales will be up about 5% over 2017. That strength is reflected in the number of titles the category placed among the top 20 bestsellers of the year; the segment had 10 of the top 20 sellers. Two much-discussed Trump-related books, Fire and Fury and Fear, were numbers five and seven, respectively, on the year-end list.
The highest-ranking adult fiction title was the collaboration between James Patterson and Bill Clinton that produced The President Is Missing, which sold over 703,000 print copies, landing it in 10th place on the year-end bestsellers list. In all, only four adult fiction print titles made the top 20 bestseller list.
Six children’s books hit the top 20, led by Jeff Kinney’s The Meltdown, which was #4 with 1.1 million copies sold.
Last year also appears to have been a better year for frontlist than 2017. Five books sold more than one million print copies in 2018, all of which were new books. Only four backlist titles cracked the top 20. In 2017, the two bestselling titles were the backlist books Wonder and Milk and Honey.
Print Bestsellers, 2018Rank Title Author Imprint Units sold 1 Becoming Michelle Obama Crown 3,428,409 2 Magnolia Table Joanna Gaines William Morrow 1,308,227 3 Girl, Wash Your Face Rachel Hollis Thomas Nelson 1,280,464 4 The Meltdown Jeff Kinney Amulet 1,144,649 5 Fire and Fury Michael Wolff Henry Holt 1,016,014 6 The Wonky Donkey Craig Smith Scholastic Paperbacks 973,851 7 Fear Bob Woodward Simon Schuster 972,750 8 Dog Man and Cat Kid Dav Pilkey Graphix 716,329 9 Your Are a Badass Jen Sincero Running Press 712,990 10 The President Is Missing Patterson/Clinton Little, Brown/Knopf 703,230 11 12 Rules for Life Jordan B. Patterson Random House Canada 692,238 12 Dog Man Dav Pilkey Graphix 690,692 13 A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L’Engle Square Fish 630,795 14 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Mark Manson Harper 626,818 15 A Higher Loyalty James Comey Flatiron 611,737 16 Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan Anchor 595,457 17 The Reckoning John Grisham Doubleday 566,728 18 A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo Marlon Bundo Chronicle 544,475 19 Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Dr. Seuss Random House Books for Young Readers 540,665 20 Homebody Joanna Gaines Harper 523,321