Examining PW’s adult print bestseller lists from 2017 yields little in the way of trends. Most notable is the fact that it was the year the crayons quit: for the previous two years, coloring books dominated the trade paper list, but sales fell precipitously in 2017. There was nary a one to be seen in the top 25 slots, and of the few that wiggled onto the list, only one, Kerby Rosanes’s Mythomorphia, held on for more than a week or two, with six in total.

In 2016, the 31 trade paper coloring books that peppered the lists, six of which were in the longest-running group, hogged a total of 256 slots—19.6% of the 1,300 available positions. In 2017, eight coloring titles grabbed only 16 positions on the weekly list—a mere 1% of the total.

What remains status quo is the conglomerates’ dominance of the bestseller lists. The Big Five controlled 86.8% of the available places on hardcover lists and 84.6% for paperback. In 2016, those figures were 87.8% and 79.2%, respectively. Of the 279 hardcover fiction titles that hit the lists, a mere six came from outside the power publishers. Two were religious titles: The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn from Pen Sword and Tyndale’s Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg. Kensington had two titles on the hardcover fiction list: Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke and Lisa Jackson’s You Will Pay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also had two titles hit the list (one in two different editions): William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, plus a deluxe edition of that title, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beren and Luthien.

Although Penguin Random House maintained its strong lead in most positions on the lists, it lost more than three percentage points on the hardcover list and 2.5 percentage points in paperback. In hardcovers, HarperCollins showed a gain of 3.4 percentage points; the Hachette Book Group was in third place, with a 13.4% share of hardcover slots and a 14% share of paperback slots. Hachette’s bestseller performance was helped a bit by its purchase of Perseus, which added three hardcover bestsellers. Macmillan had the biggest gain on the paperback list, adding more than four percentage points compared to 2016.

Nonfiction Lends a Helping Hand

Our Hardcover Nonfiction list revealed that readers wanted advice, be it religious (Sarah Young’s Jesus Always and Chip and Joanna Gaines’s The Magnolia Story), inspirational (The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu), authoritarian (Make Your Bed by William H. McCraven), or pragmatic (Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck, which was the longest-running bestseller on that list, holding out for 40 weeks, at #1 for three of them).

Only after beds were made, prayers dispensed, and apathy achieved did readers turn to science, politics, sociology, and issues of the day. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry stayed on the list a healthy 32 weeks and spent four weeks—the most of any nonfiction hardcover—at the #1 spot.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s What Happened hit #1 for two weeks and spent 14 weeks in total on the hardcover nonfiction list. Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Rising Sun (written with Martin Dugard) remained on the list for weeks after he was fired from Fox. The memoir Al Franken, Giant of the Senate spent 18 weeks on the list before sexual misconduct accusations were leveled against its author, leading to his resignation from the Senate.

Fiction Shows Strength on Top

Spending 41 weeks on our Hardcover Fiction list in 2017 (plus an additional 12 in 2016), A Gentleman in Moscow banished all worries of a sophomore slump for author Amor Towles. It took the prize for longevity last year, with no other title coming close. In second place was Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, holding fast for 30 weeks (plus another 20 in 2016).

Last year saw 10 fiction titles that lasted more than 15 weeks on the list; 2016 had only seven, none of which stayed more than 25 weeks. The top seven titles accounted for 10.7% of the total 1,300 positions for fiction in 2016, while last year they accounted for 13%.

John Grisham, after 30 years in the game, still stuns with stats. He had two titles in the top 10 positions. The Whistler was on the 2017 list for 19 weeks after its late 2016 publication; his June title, Camino Island, hung on for 21 weeks after its June publication; and his most recent, The Rooster Bar (published in October), had spent eight weeks on the list as of year’s end, with five weeks in the #1 spot.

Norton had the only longstanding fiction title on the list not published by one the Big Five. Its Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman racked up 20 weeks.

Dim Debuts

Publishing first fiction in 2017 proved to be an even more excruciatingly Sisyphean task than usual. Of the six debuts that made it onto our bestseller lists, only two had staying power beyond a single week. One of them was Tom Hanks’s collection of stories, Uncommon Type, which scarcely counts as a debut because of his outsize celebrity and Midas magic; it hung on for nine weeks—certainly not an Oscar-winning performance. The second was Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling, which lived up to its prepublication buzz by appearing on the Hardcover Fiction list for five weeks.

In retrospect, 2016 seemed like a cakewalk for first timers. Of the nine debuts that hit the list last year, seven lasted more than a week and several boasted impressive longevity: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, and Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter held spots on the list for 22, 13, and 11 weeks, respectively.

Movie Tie-in or Book Tie-in?

Perhaps people should start referring to some films as “book tie-ins.” Publishers can take pride in knowing that many of 2017’s bestselling movie tie-ins were from leading authors whose books made much more noise on the page than on the screen, demonstrating that the relationship between books and films is far from a one-way street. Among those that returned to bestseller lists were Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Stephen King’s It, Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, and Lee Child’s Never Go Back.

Still, Hollywood helps publishers’ bottom lines. Morrow, in particular, benefitted this year with Hidden Figures, which rode the coattails of the movie adaptation’s Oscar-winning success. Holding the #1 spot on our Trade Paperback list for eight of its 30 weeks there, Hidden Figures was one of a very few books in the format to last more than a few weeks on top. In a more old-fashioned form of film-book synergy, in which a book owes its existence to a movie, Morrow also had a hit with Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture, written by the film’s official historian, Joshua Levine.

Hanging on to the Holy Grail

Many titles have had fleeting encounters with #1 status, but she remains a fickle mistress, and few held on for long. The longest-lasting chart toppers on our Trade Paperback list besides Hidden Figures were Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, with 18 weeks at #1, and Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers, with 10 weeks.

Across the other lists, including mass market, only John Grisham and Danielle Steel saw #1 for more than five weeks. As noted above, Grisham’s three books to reach the top garnered a combined 16 weeks: five weeks each for his two hardcovers and six for his mass market paperback. Steel’s mass market paperback of The Apartment enjoyed the #1 spotlight for five weeks.

The vast majority of bestselling nonfiction hardcovers spent only one or two weeks at #1. Of the 30 titles to reach the summit, five lasted for three weeks, one lasted for four weeks (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry), and one for five weeks (The Pioneer Women Cooks: Come and Get It!, Ree Drummond’s latest in her series of cookbooks).

Bestsellers by Corporation

How the Big Five fared on PW’s 2017 lists

Hardcover Paperback Books Positions Share 2017* Share 2016* Books Positions Share 2017* Share 2016* Penguin Random House 214 986 37.9% 41.0% 141 755 29.0% 31.5% HarperCollins 89 418 16.0% 12.6% 173 591 22.7% 21.0% Hachette Book Group USA 73 349 13.4% 14.2% 65 364 14.0% 14.8% Simon Schuster 65 300 11.5% 12.1% 35 295 11.3% 8.4% Macmillan 61 229 8.0% 7.9% 29 199 7.6% 3.5%

*This figure represents the publisher’s share of the 2,600 hardcover and 2,600 paperback bestseller list positions during each year. (There are 25 positions on each of our four weekly adult bestseller lists: hardcover fiction and nonfiction, trade paperback, and mass market.)

PW’s 2017 Longest-running Bestsellers

Weeks On Hardcover Fiction 41 A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles
Viking (12) 30 Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead
Doubleday 25 Before We Were Yours
Lisa Wingate
Ballantine 21 *Camino Island
John Grisham
Doubleday 20 *Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
Norton 19 *The Whistler
John Grisham
Doubleday (8) 19 *Into the Water
Paula Hawkins
Riverhead 17 Two by Two
Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central 17 *Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders
Random House 16 Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
Ballantine (10) Weeks On Hardcover Nonfiction 40 *Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:
A Counterintuitive Approach to
Living a Good Life
Mark Manson
HarperOne (1) 39 Jesus Always:
Embracing Joy in His Presence
Sarah Young
Nelson (12) 35 The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness
in a Changing World
Dalai Lama Desmond Tutu
Avery (7) 34 *Make Your Bed: Little Things
That Can Change Your Life…
William H. McRaven
Grand Central 32 The Magnolia Story
Chip Joanna Gaines
Nelson (9) 32 *Astrophysics for People
in a Hurry
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Norton 27 *Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance
Harper (9) 24 Born a Crime: Stories from
a South African Childhood
Trevor Noah
Random/Spiegel Grau (5) 23 Killers of the Flower Moon:
The Osage Murders and the
Birth of the FBI
David Grann
Doubleday 21 *Option B:
Facing Adversity, Building
Resilience, and Finding Joy
Sheryl Sandberg Adam Grant
Knopf 18 *Killing the Rising Sun:
How America Vanquished
World War II Japan
Bill O’Reilly
Martin Dugard
Holt (14) 18 *Al Franken, Giant of the
Senate
Al Franken
Twelve 17 *Lose Your Belly Diet
Travis Stork
Ghost Mountain 16 The Whole30 Cookbook
Melissa Hartwig
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (1) 15 Tools of Titans
Tim Ferriss
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2) 14 *What Happened
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Simon Schuster Weeks On Mass Market Paperback 22 *The Whistler
John Grisham
Dell 20 *A Dog’s Purpose
W. Bruce Cameron
Forge (2) 15 *Night School
Lee Child
Dell 15 *See Me
Nicholas Sparks
Vision Weeks On Trade Paperback 42 Lilac Girls
Martha Hall Kelly
Ballantine 38 All the Missing Girls
Megan Miranda
Simon Schuster 37 *All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Simon Schuster 36 *The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware
Simon Schuster 34 The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah
St. Martin’s 33 Uninvited
Lysa Terkeurst
Nelson (19) 30 *Hidden Figures
Margot Lee Shetterly
Morrow (2) 29 *On Tyranny
Timothy Snuder
Crown/Duggan 29 The Couple Next Door
Shari Lapena
Penguin 27 The Offical SAT Study Guide
College Board 27 *A Dog’s Purpose
W. Bruce Cameron
Forge (2) 23 Behind Closed Doors
B.A. Paris
Griffin 20 Two by Two
Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central 19 My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You…
Fredrik Backman
Washington Square (36) 18 The Shack
Wm. Paul Young
Windblown 18 The Zookeeper’s Wife
Diane Ackerman
Norton 17 The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood
Anchor 16 The Orphan’s Tale
Pam Jenoff
Mira 16 The Nest
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Ecco 16 Commonwealth
Ann Patchett
Harper Perennial 15 *The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Riverhead (23) 15 In a Dark, Dark Wood
Ruth Ware
Scout (33) 15 What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Heidi Murkoff Sharon Mazel
Workman (13) 15 *It
Stephen King
Scribner 15 Being Mortal
Atul Gawabde
Picador

*These titles reached the #1 spot on PW’s weekly bestseller lists at least once in 2017.

Note: The numbers in parentheses indicate how many weeks the title in question spent on PW’s bestseller lists prior to 2017. PW’s 2017 longest-running bestsellers

Ranking the Houses

How the divisions and imprints competed in 2017

Publisher Titles on Lists Positions on Lists Adult Hardcover Morrow 29 105 Putnam 27 110 Simon Schuster 26 126 St. Martin’s 24 83 Little, Brown 23 151 Grand Central 20 119 Knopf 20 91 Harper 17 103 Ballantine 16 99 Delacorte 13 83 Random House 13 54 Berkley 12 20 Doubleday 11 120 Penguin Press 10 43 Viking 9 75 HarperOne 9 50 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 9 50 Gallery 9 17 Scribner 8 61 Flatiron 8 28 Center Street 8 20 Del Rey 8 14 Norton 7 66 Holt 6 58 Bantam 6 27 Dutton 6 20 Hay House 6 13 Clarkson Potter 6 12 Portfolio 6 11 Tor 6 10 Zondervan 6 8 Nelson 5 57 W 5 52 Crown 5 27 Atria 5 20 Regnery 5 16 Minotaur 5 15 Faithwords 5 13 Dey Street 5 11 Random/Spiegel Grau 4 31 Hachette 4 9 Dark Horse 4 8 Ecco 4 8 Harmony 4 8 Riverhead 3 34 Twelve 3 23 FSG 3 15 Atlantic Monthly 3 12 Touchstone 3 12 Sentinel 3 11 Howard 3 10 Archetype 3 5 Piggyback 3 5 WaterBrook 3 4 Wizards of the Coast 3 4 America’s Test Kitchen 3 3 Rodale 3 3 Ten Speed 3 3 Avery 2 43 All Points 2 23 Gallery/Scout 2 15 Harper Wave 2 14 Frontline 2 12 Atria/Bestler 2 10 Putnam/Wood 2 9 Forge 2 7 Blue Rider 2 6 Dial 2 5 Kensington 2 5 Viking/Dorman 2 5 Tyndale 2 4 Mira 2 3 Ramsey 2 3 St. Martin’s/Dunne 2 3 Abrams 2 2 Da Capo 2 2 DAW 2 2 DC 2 2 Grand Central Life Style 2 2 Grove 2 2 HarperPerennial 2 2 Ghost Mountain 1 17 Humanix 1 12 37 Ink 1 11 Threshold 1 9 Dangerous 1 6 One World 1 6 Andrews McMeel 1 5 Book Shots 1 5 Metropolitan 1 5 Workman 1 5 Abingdon 1 4 BH 1 4 Cemetery Dance 1 4 Ace 1 3 Algonquin 1 3 Keywords 1 3 Worthy 1 3 Chronicle 1 2 Harvest House 1 2 HQN 1 2 Pantheon 1 2 Public Affairs 1 2 Mass Market Mira 32 121 HQN 28 92 Zebra 26 87 Berkley 22 99 Avon 21 54 Pinnacle 19 66 Love Inspired 18 19 Putnam 17 68 Pocket 16 77 Harlequin 14 34 Dell 13 108 Vision 13 100 Harlequin Intrigue 12 12 St. Martin’s 11 32 Grand Central 8 47 Silhouette 8 26 Dutton 7 41 Ballantine 7 40 Morrow 7 40 Bantam 5 26 Jove 5 17 Forever 3 6 Forge 2 24 Riverhead 2 15 Black Lizard 2 11 Broadway 2 11 Harper 2 7 Love Inspired Suspense 2 2 Windblown 1 8 Penguin Books 1 6 LB/Patterson 1 5 Atria 1 1 Trade Paper Grand Central 21 128 Book Shots 11 33 Griffin 8 77 Morrow 7 63 Penguin Books 7 48 Berkley 6 35 Norton 6 26 Random House 6 17 Viz Media 6 6 Mira 5 27 Scribner 4 66 Ballantine 4 51 Andrews McMeel 4 26 Anchor 4 24 Picador 4 24 Atria 4 15 America’s Test Kitchen 4 6 CreateSpace 4 6 W 4 5 Image 4 4 Washington Square 3 32 Vintage 3 28 Back Bay 3 16 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 3 15 Zondervan 3 9 Broadway 3 8 Harper 3 5 Cogin 3 3 Waterhouse 3 3 Gallery/Scout 2 51 Nelson 2 34 Riverhead 2 22 Wiley 2 17 Flatiron 2 14 Keywords 2 11 Black Lizard 2 8 Walah 2 8 Dutton 2 7 Plume 2 7 Bethany House 2 4 Gallery 2 4 Penguin 2 4 World Almanac Books 2 4 Portfolio 2 3 BH 2 2 Baker 2 2 Chicken Soup for the Soul 2 2 Disney Editions 2 2 Hay House 2 2 Orbit 2 2 Post Hill 2 2 TarcherPerigee 2 2 Victory Belt 2 2 Watson-Guptil 1 58 Simon Schuster 1 38 Crown/Duggan 1 29 College Board 1 27 Forge 1 26 Windblown 1 18 Ecco 1 16 Harper Perennial 1 16 Workman 1 15 Rockridge 1 14 Bantam 1 10 Silhouette 1 7 Convergent 1 4 Harmony 1 3 Haymarket 1 3 Lake Union 1 3 Old Farmer’s Almanac 1 3 Top Shelf 1 3 Abrams Image 1 2 Grove 1 2 National Geographic 1 2 Page Street 1 2 Sentinel 1 2

Note: Publishers that had a single title hit the lists for just one week are not included in the ranking. PW’s lists include only frontlist titles.

Bestsellers by Format

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Hardcover Fiction 251 273 268 268 279 Hardcover Nonfiction 269 267 283 320 319 Mass Market 290 264 291 276 330 Trade Paperback 187 226 217 213 246

The table above indicates the number of titles that appeared on the bestseller lists in each format during the given year.