Reading happens to be one of the most common hobbies throughout the world. This particular interest has existed since ancient times, and it is considered one of the most valuable forms of learning. One does not need to know any specialized skills to read books; instead, you get the chance to discover your love for a variety of genres as you go on exploring new authors. In the words of Charles W.Eliot, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
While multiple industries took a hit due to Covid-19, it appears as if people rediscovered their love for books during the pandemic. There was an increasing shift to online spending; general retail sales stood at 13.5% by the end of 2020’s Q3, which represented an increase of 36.7% from 2019’s third quarter. Similarly, Accenture noted that online retail saw “10 years of growth in a matter of months.” The same trend was reflected in the publishing industry. NPD writes, “April 2020 posted the highest year-over-year unit gains when 5.2 million more e-books were sold compared to 2019.“
Covid 19’s impact on the publishing industry was heavily feared due to the shutting down of physical bookstores. Libraries across the world were closed due to the restrictions placed by respective governments, and people were limited to their homes. Barnes and Nobles, for instance, would go on to face one of their toughest financial crunches. During the summer of 2020, the company extensively expanded digital operations and online sales to balance out the opening restrictions on the physical bookstores. More than 400 of the company’s 627 stores were shuttered in the USA between April and May. However, by late fall, as per Barnes and Nobles’ CEO, James Daunt, the book sales had risen compared to the last year, with online sales doubling. This claim could be reaffirmed from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and NPD data, which showed ‘significant gains across most publishing sectors in 2020’.
During this time, you may also have found yourself looking for comfort from reality in the pages of fiction or for hope in an auto-biography. Most of the people who prefer classics decided to look beyond and dived into the world of contemporary writers. The list published by NPD shows various genres, making it to the top 10, most of these being suspense thrillers such as The Cellist or The Last Thing He Told Me.
For our list of 10 Best Selling Books of 2021, we have collated data through NPD BookScan, the most trusted standard in POS tracking for the publishing industry. It provides detailed sales data on both physical and digital book sales in the United States. Data collected from all major retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Amazon, and other independent bookshops, includes about “85 percent of trade print books sold in the United States”.
To cover the digital book market, we have made use of NPD PubTrack DigitalTM. It covers the top 80% of the traditionally published e-book industry’, as well as the recently launched PubTrack Audio dataset, with information from over 450 partners, including small, medium, and prominent U.S. publishers.
With this context and in-depth information, let’s have a look at the top 10 best-selling books of 2021.
10 Best-Selling Books of 2021
10. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published in August 2016, Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us still manages to make it to the 10 Best Selling Books list of 2021, even after five years. This book is not an ordinary romantic fiction, rather “a tale of love that comes with an unforgettable price.” When Lily from Maine meets the charming neurosurgeon Ryle, her world gets a little too exciting. Lily’s too-good-to-be-true relationship remains that way only until she starts wondering the reason behind Ryle breaking his ‘no dating’ rule to make an exception for her.
The overwhelming thoughts and troubled situation lead her to recollect beautiful memories of her past with Atlas Corrigan, her first love. Now Lily has a choice to make; Ryle or Atlas?
The New York Times bestselling author, Anna Todd has described the book as a “brave and heartbreaking novel that digs its claws into you and doesn’t let go, long after you’ve finished it.”
9. Dog Man: Mothering Heights by Dav Pilkey
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Number 9th on our list of 10 Best Selling Books of 2021 is Dog Man: Mothering Heights. Yes, the title reminds us of Wuthering Heights, but this book is nothing like that. The Dog Man: Mothering Heights belongs to a long list of the Dog Man series and falls on number 10, leaving the readers to assume whether it’s going to be the last book of this series or not. This book is about Dog Man and Petey, who are going through a crisis while Grampa isn’t up to much good either. Dav Pilkey is known to plant seeds of empathy, acceptance, and compassion through his Dog Man series and this book serves that purpose very well. The book enjoys a 4.56 rating out of 5 on Goodreads. According to NPD BookScan, Dav Pilkey’s Mothering Heights has lived up to the fanfare of the Dog Man series and has gone on to sell a total of 903,000 copies since its debut in March 2021.
8. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, And The Horse isn’t a conventional book. The illustrated novel follows the story of the four characters of the title. Heartfelt conversations amongst the protagonists have turned this story into a book of advice, kindness, and encouragement. The book speaks a universal language of love which allows readers of all ages to connect with it. Featuring 100 drawings, this picture-based book has been described as an “object of art” (Egan). In case you are looking for a message of hope in these times of uncertainty, Mackesy’s book should be on your list. The book achieved instant success with more than a million copies being sold in May 2020.
7. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Written by Delia Ovens, Where the Crawdads Sings appears to have appealed to a wide demographic of readers. Owens pays homage to the natural world with a poignant coming-of-age story and a chilling mystery. Her debut novel is intriguing and moving, reminding us that the child within us is what forms us forever. The book narrates the story of Kya Clark, a girl who has spent a greater part of her life in the wild. While she possesses the ability to live in solitude indefinitely, there comes a point when she longs to be cherished. Kya offers her heart to two young men from the town who are both captivated by her. Seen as unfit for the ‘civil’ society, Kya gets to learn the ways of this new world in no time. The abandoned child’s heartbreaking journey of self is what has the readers hooked to this book. Delia Owen’s debut novel has sold a total of nearly 8.5 million copies worldwide and has also featured on The New York Times Bestseller List for a remarkable 124 weeks, as of late January 2021.
6. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Last Thing He Told Me lies on the 6th spot on our list of 10 best-selling books of 2021 and enjoys a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Goodreads. This book is a suspense thriller that focuses on the lives of a family that is left with secrets to unravel as the father figure disappears out of thin air. This novel brings together a stepmother and a daughter who embark on a journey to discover surprising truths about their husband and father, respectively. This family drama is bound to leave you at the edge of your seat with its unexpected twists.
5. People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Described as a “pitch perfect beach read” by Angela Haupt of The Washington Post, this book by Emily Henry lies on number 5 in our list of 10 best-selling books of 2021. The People We Meet On Vacation is about two childhood best friends who share a long-distance relationship and opposite personalities yet manage to take a vacation together each summer for almost a decade. However, things fall apart between the two during their last vacation. Now Poppy has her final chance to make things right between her and Alex, who miraculously agrees on taking one final trip together, after two years of no communication. The question is, will they be able to let go of the hard feelings and start over again?