Sales of books on race and social justice in the United States remained strong in 2021, according to the NPD

Although down from 2020, unit sales of books on race and social justice were still 116% higher in 2021 than in 2019 before the George Floyd protests.

PORT WASHINGTON, NY, January 31, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — In the United States, unit sales of adult print books focusing on diversity, discrimination and civil rights reached 2.6 million copies in 2021, down 42% from to 2020, when sales of these books surged following nationwide protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. However, according to The NPD Group, sales in this category were still up more than 116%, compared to 2019 before the protests, driven by strong sales for titles like Oprah’s Book Club Pick, “Caste: the origins of our discontents”, by Isabelle Wilkerson“The Sum of Us” by Heather McHeeand “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” by Emmanuel Acho.

“With Black History Month approaching in February, it is important to note that many new voices on these topics have found an audience over the past year,” said Kristen McLean, book industry analyst for NPD. “In fact, half of the top 10 bestsellers in 2021 were newly released titles at the top of the charts. High-growth authors in this space last year included Heather McHee, Tarana Burkeand Don Lemon — authors who all had new releases in 2021 focused on the issue of racism.”

Social books on justice for kids

Sales of children’s books with a focus on diversity and social issues also took off in 2020, and growth continued in 2021. The unit sales volume of these books reached 19.9 million units in 2021, up 10% from 2020. Comparing 2021 volume to 2019 levels, sales were up 29%.

“Children’s fiction categories play an important role in educating children about social justice because the messages are easier to convey in a story,” McLean said. “Growth Zones suggest buyers are eager to help their children be good friends, better understand their emotions, and develop skills to feel confident and secure.”

The highest growth topics in the Children’s Diversity and Social Issues category in 2021 were all fiction and included the following topics:

  • Sales of friendship stories were up 10% year-over-year, supported by titles that promote the importance of kindness and being a good friend, including “A Friend is Someone Who” , by Marilee oy mayfieldand “ABC of Kindness”, by Patricia Hegarty.

  • Sales of self-esteem and self-reliance books rose 20%, with books that celebrate self-worth and empowerment driving much of the increase.

  • Books that help children understand their emotions increased by 9%, including “In My Heart”, by Jo Witek.

  • Books focusing on prejudice and racism rose 40%, led by by Amanda Gorman children’s book, “Change Sings”, which aims to teach young readers that they have the power to make changes big or small.

  • Books on emigration and immigration increased by 32%, led by “When the stars are scattered”, by Vitoria Jamiesona graphic novel detailing the daily life of a young refugee.


About NPD Books
With the explosion of content generated by print books, video-on-demand streaming services, podcasts and audiobooks, our culture is increasingly dominated by the stories we tell. In this interconnected media landscape, books are the starting point for some of today’s most popular media properties. But as the evolution of retail and consumers accelerates, it can be difficult to make sense of it all. We work with all of the major publishing, retail, media and toy players in the United States to understand the evolution of digital and print content. Our book industry experts know the world of publishing inside out; they tap into our point-of-sale data to help you make better, faster decisions in today’s market.

About the NPD Group
NPD is a global market intelligence company that offers data, industry expertise and prescriptive analytics to help our clients understand today’s retail landscape and prepare for the future. More than 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict and improve performance across all channels, including physical, e-commerce and B2B. We have services in 19 countries around the world, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, home appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, catering, footwear , home, home improvement, children’s products, multimedia entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail. , sports, toys and video games. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

Media Contact

Lee GrahamThe NPD Group, 917-806-7902,