Print book sales in the first nine months of this year sank 4.1% compared to the first nine months of 2022, Publishers Weekly reports, citing data collected by Circana BookScan. The third quarter of 2023 was especially slack, with sales dropping 6.7%.

The slump spanned every major category. Adult fiction dropped 7.6% in the third quarter. Adult nonfiction dropped 4.8%, despite notching sales of more than 1.2 million copies of Prince Harry’s Spare, while juvenile nonfiction sales declined 9.8%, juvenile fiction 5.9%, and young adult nonfiction 4.6%, according to Circana BookScan. 

While young adult fiction sales were buoyed by If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin, which sold more than 506,000 copies, the category declined overall, dropping 3.6% for the period, compared to the first nine months of 2022.

Sales of graphic novels, which showed dramatic gains in 2021 and 2022, tumbled 24.3% in the first nine months of 2023. 

There were some bright spots: Romance print book sales were up 16.5%, while fantasy sales increased 32.4% and horror/occult/psychological sales climbed 21.2%.

Amy Reiter is a freelance writer.