Unit sales of print books rose 1.9% in 2017, over 2016, at outlets that report to NDP BookScan, which captures between 80-85% of print sales. Total units sold at outlets that report to the service were 687.2 million, up from 674.1 million in 2016.
The increase follows a 3.3% increase in 2016 over 2015 with units having risen every year since 2013. Since 2013, print unit sales are up 10.8%.
The unit gain was driven by the retail and club channel, where sales rose 3.5% in 2017 over 2016. Units in the channel hit 593.7 million units, compared to 573.8 million units sold in 2016. Sales via the mass merchandisers channel fell 6.7% in the year, dropping to 93.6 million units, down from 100.4 million units in 2016.
Three of the four major formats posted gains in 2017 over 2016. The only segment that saw a decline was adult fiction, where units dropped 0.7%, to 139.2 million. Juvenile nonfiction had the best year with units up 7.8% over 2016, to 59.8 million. Juvenile fiction unit sales increased 2.1% in the year, to 181.7 million. Print unit sales rose 2.9% in the adult nonfiction category over 2016, to 281.6 million.
Board books also had a good year in 2017. Unit sales of the format jumped almost 11% over 2016, to 36.9 million. Hardcover sales rose 3.6%, while unit sales of trade paperbacks increased 1.5% over 2016.
Unit sales of mass market paperbacks fell again in 2017, albeit in smaller drop from the years. The 6.4% decline the format experience was smaller than the 7.7% drop recorded in 2016. Physical audiobook sales also saw a decline in sales; units fell to 3.3 million in 2017, down from 3.8 million, for a decline of 13.3%.