Business and Economic Book Sales in the US Reach 10-year High, NPD Says

Business and Economic Books US Sales Trend

Business sub-categories with the most growth mirrored current business trends. Focus areas include the surge in entrepreneurship, the revamping of human resources and organizational behavior, and the focus on expanding skillsets both personally and professionally.

Business and economic print book sales in the US continue to rise, reaching a 10-year high in the year ending April 23, 2022. The second-largest adult non-fiction subject in the US after religion, business and economics book sales account for one quarter of overall adult non-fiction unit volume, according to The NPD Group.

US print book unit sales in the business category rose 10%, for the year ending April 23, 2022, compared to the previous year. The category has also grown at a 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past 10 years. The business print books category is large and complex, with more than 100 subjects and over 200 sub-category subjects included in the “business and economics” BISAC-1 category.

“Business sub-categories with the most growth mirrored current business trends,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD. “Focus areas include the surge in entrepreneurship, the revamping of human resources and organizational behavior, and the focus on expanding skillsets both personally and professionally.”

Subjects focused on personal finance and investment, an area that grew in the second half of 2020 and early 2021, suffered the greatest year-over-year sales declines. However, even as books related to personal finance and investments declined compared to the high watermark of 2021, they are still showing continued strength compared to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, when comparing against 2019, unit sales for the finance and investment subject so far in 2022 increased 27%. Books that are focused on financial independence and financial literacy are the key themes among bestselling titles in these subjects.

“During the first years of the pandemic, when stay-at-home orders were in force, many households sought advice to help navigate their personal financial realities,” McLean said. “Many book buyers also had more discretionary money to invest, thanks to the pause in travel and other experiences, along with extra cash from government stimulus payments and loan pauses. As the population heads back to the office, the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, and we are back to more traditional areas of interest in business and economics.”

About NPD Books

With the explosion of content generated by print books, streaming video-on-demand services, podcasts, and audiobooks, our culture is increasingly dominated by the stories we tell. In this interconnected media landscape, books are where some of today’s hottest media properties get their start. But as retail and consumer change accelerates, it can be a challenge to make sense of it all. We work with all the major players in US publishing, retail, media, and toys to understand how digital and print content is evolving. Our books industry experts know the publishing world inside and out; they tap into our point-of-sale data to help you make better and faster decisions in today’s market.

About The NPD Group

NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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