In what is perhaps the biggest surprise in publishing since the Covid-19 pandemic sent the U.S. economy into turmoil this spring, print unit sales saw a 2.8% increase in the first half of 2020, over the comparable period in 2019, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The number of copies sold was 322.1 million in the six-month period, up from 313.5 million in the first half of 2019.

The increase was led by a combination of children’s nonfiction books aimed at helping parents educate and entertain their children and a spike in sales of books on race relations and social justice.