Bard Press Essay #17
July 15, 2021
Welcome to the 2021 Mid-Year Review!
There are all sorts of interesting things to highlight in the world of book publishing and business books as we reach the half-way point of 2021. Let’s jump right in!
1. Big Growth in Book Market
Book publishing is classically a market of slow and steady growth. In 2020, book publishing was remarkably resilient through the pandemic. The real surprise has been 2021. The year-to-date total print market is up 21%. The analysts are pointing to young adult titles, which grew 50% YTD, and comics/graphic novels as key categories.
The business category is up 25.5% and self-help is up 32% year to date.
Self-help grew in almost every subcategory. The big self-help book for 2021 is What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. SXSW EDU has a great 40 minute video with them in conversation about the book.
In businesses, the sales increase can be seen in categories across the board. That strength is being led by strong sales in personal finance with over 500,000 more copies sold year-to-date over 2020, which was another strong year for the category. Two titles also stand out for their sales in 2021…
2. Fastest Business Book Ever To A Million Copies
James Clear’s Atomic Habits is the fastest business book to reach a million print copies sold in the US. The book reached the seven figure mark in 136 weeks or just over two and a half years. The prior record holder was StrengthFinder 2.0 which took 150 weeks to reach the million copy mark.
Atomic Habits launched on October 16, 2018 and had strong sales from the start. The book has made forty seven appearances in the #1 slot on the business book bestseller list and has never dropped below the number five slot since it first hit #1 in January 2020.
3. The Breakout Business Book of 2021
Adam Grant’s Think Again is the breakout business book of 2021, has sold over 200,000 copies in print and has been in the Top 10 since it came out on February 2nd. You have to total the sales of the next five top-selling business books that were released in 2021 to match the sales of Think Again.
4. Four Books in Twelve Months
Jon Gordon, an already prolific author with 25+ books to his name, including the multi-million copy bestseller The Energy Bus, has released four books in the last twelve months. For those of you not keeping track at home:
- The Garden: a Spiritual Fable About Ways to Overcome Fear, Anxiety, and Stress (June 2020)
- Relationship Grit: a True Story With Lessons to Stay Together, Grow Together, and Thrive Together, with his wife Kathryn Gordon (September 2020)
- Stick Together: a Simple Lesson to Build a Stronger Team, written with Kate Leavell (March 2021)
- Row the Boat: a Never-Give-Up Approach to Lead With Enthusiasm and Optimism and Improve Your Team and Culture, written with P.J. Fleck (June 2020)
5. Everything About The World’s Largest Online Retailer
For the company that got its start selling books, there have been an amazing number of books written about it in the last two years. Think Like Amazon, Bezonomics, and Amazon (the book) are among the books that predate the pandemic. In the last six months, the pace has quickened.
- Invent & Wander, edited by Walter Isaacson is a collection of Jeff Bezos’ shareholder letters, speeches, and interviews.
- The Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders by Ram Charan and Julia Yang – The CEO Whisperer provides his explanation for the company’s success.
- Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec MacGillis, which came out in March, is described as a “a literary investigation of the America that falls within that company’s growing shadow.”
- Working Backwards is the business book treatment of leadership principles and cultural values by former Amazon executives Colin Bryar and Bill Carr.
- The Amazon Way, just released in its third edition, is written by former Amazon director John Rossman.
- And Brad Stone’s Amazon Unbound was just released, the sequel to the Businessweek reporter’s 2013 book The Everything Store.
If you need more to read, you could subscribe to Tim Carmody’s newsletter Amazon Chronicles by or What Did Amazon Do This Week? written by Paul Armstrong.
6. Three Best Bard Press Articles of The Year So Far
We have been putting out lots of great posts this year. Here are three of my favorites:
- The Magic Number – This is our full essay about our 10,000 copy research and show you why it is so important to get passed that milestone in copies sold.
- Create a Great Throughline For Your Book – Using Adam Davidson’s Passion Economy, I walk through all the important structural elements of a book and, with examples, how you can make them connect to build a better product.
- Documentaries For Book Lovers – Here are five films to watch about printers, publishers, and sellers. They all made me smile.
7. Four Books You Might Have Missed
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini – This is one of my top ten favorite books of all time and they just released an updated edition with a new principle (unity) and new case studies for the digital world.
- Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel – I keep bumping into people reading this book. The book is a set of clever essays that shows us how we think about money and the traps to watch out for. The publisher just released a hardcover edition, alongside the current paperback.
- The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef – We have biases and they are hard to see through. This book gives everyone more ways to see things the way they are.
- Ask Iwata: Words of Wisdom from Satoru Iwata Nintendo’s Legendary CEO – This book collects the writings and wisdom of Iwata-san, who died in 2015.
Thank for reading!
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