The trade book market is traditionally busy during the holiday season, with November and December sales usually accounting for more than 20% of total annual sales. We took a look at how the holiday book sales changed over time and what we can expect in the future.
Almost 25% of all book sales over the year occur during the holiday season.
Almost half of that, around 12%, happens around Christmas.
In 2019, over 173 million books in the United States were sold during November and December, which means that one in four books that year was sold during the holiday season.
Black Friday book sales
Over the month of November 2022, over 61.8 million books were sold in the United States.
A month heavily influenced by Black Friday, November sales were 15.9% higher compared to October.
However, Black Friday sales in 2022 were 14.4% lower compared to the previous year, when over 72.2 million books were sold during November 2021.
In terms of revenue, 2022 November sales were 17.56% down compared to November 2021, standing at $1,052 million.
Black Friday month sales revenue in 2022 was the lowest since 2019 and even below 2018 and 2017 levels.
Total book sales revenue for the month of November ($ million)
Black Friday revenue by format
Print book revenue during November 2022 was $706.4 million, which is a drop from $830.6 million during the same month in 2021.
2022 November print sales are even lower than 2020 figures when over $725.9 million in sales revenue was achieved.
E-book sales in November 2022 were also down compared to both 2021 and 2020 levels, with $83.1 million (revenue was $91.5 million and $87.9 million in 2021 and 2020, respectively).
Audiobooks are among the rare categories where the first holiday month in 2022 generated more revenue compared to 2021, with over $73.9 million in sales.
Religious book sales revenue for November 2022 is $71 million, which is an increase from $65.6 million in November 2021.
Print book revenue in November ($ million)
E-book revenue in November ($ million)
Audiobook revenue in November ($ million)
Christmas book sales
Book sales revenue in December 2021 was $1.12 billion, a 0.37% increase compared to 2020.
2021 Christmas book sales month was the highest-selling over the last 5 years.
Almost 12% of all book sales during a year occur within a few days around Christmas.
Most of these sales are bought as Christmas gifts.
During December, a week preceding Chrismas could end up with more than 30 million books sold.
Total book sales revenue for the month of December ($ million)
Bookstores holiday revenue
During November and December of 2021, over 21% of annual bookstore sales revenue was recorded.
This was the second consecutive year where the last two months of the year account for more than 20% of total bookstore sales revenue.
During the same period, bookstores recorded over $1.79 billion in revenue, the most over the last 5 years.
November 2022 was the highest-grossing over the last 5 years, with bookstores generating over $668 million.
November bookstore sales revenue ($ million)
December bookstore sales revenue ($ million)
Total holiday sales ($ million)
Share of holiday sales in annual sales revenue
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