The NPD Group reports a remarkable reversal is taking place in print book category sales after years of declines. Through the end of July 2017, print travel books have experienced 2% growth in unit sales and an overall compound annual growth rate of 1% from 2014 to 2016 in the U.S.
“This is a notable turnaround after a steep 44% decline from 2010-2014 and proof that readers are returning to print guidebooks, even in the digital age,” the firm states.
Six out of 10 of the top designated market areas (DMA) in the U.S. are showing year-to-date growth in travel guides. In particular, exceptional sales growth is taking place in the following cities:
- Tampa, Fla.
- Detroit, Mich.
- Phoenix, Ariz.
- Minneapolis, Minn.
- Sacramento, Calif.
In addition, the DMA index shows that there is a much greater interest for travel books on the West Coast and Pacific Northwest, especially in higher income areas, according to NPD.
Year-to-date travel guide sales also show a change in consumer interest for regions outside of the U.S., with notable growth in books on Scandinavia, South Africa, and Canada.
Regions in decline include France, Western Europe, Turkey, and Central America. There are also changes in areas of interest in the United States, with sales of books about the Pacific West and Western Mountains increasing, while those about New England and the South declining, reports NPD.
“Sales of travel books in the best-selling destinations are up, likely because they share a certain sense of romance, aspiration, and adventure without being politically or historically charged in any way at the current time,” says Kristen McLean, industry analyst for NPD Books.
Eighty-six of the top 100 markets have been showing strong and sustained growth in Special Interest Travel books, in categories including memoirs, essays, photographic travel books, and how-to guides on a wide range of specialties. These include adventure travel, traveling with families and pets, and LGBT travel. These books fit into a certain escapist pleasure category, as people seek to be transported to new and interesting places via the pages of a book, McLean says.