In November 2014, there was an awakening: the citizens of the world took a collective gasp as Star Wars: The Force Awakens was officially announced. The (very) long-awaited Episode VII announcement sent the internet into a frenzy of Star Wars-related memes, tweets, and posts. It also spurred some companies into reviving their Star Wars materials, including books based on the franchise.
Hearing the public cry for more Star Wars, publishers got busy and 2015 was a year of plenty for fans. A plethora of Star Wars-themed sticker books, activity books, spin-off series, and satirical versions appeared on shelves, and swiftly flew back off of them. In 2015 alone, 1,630 ISBNs with "Star Wars" in the title, subtitle, or series name had sales. By the end of the year, these ISBNs saw a whopping total of 364,630 units sold. (Since we could only search for "Star Wars" in titles, subtitles, and series names, the numbers in these reports may be missing any Star Wars-themed books that were not included on that list.)
Being fans of the films ourselves, we were very excited to find that of all Science Fiction (both Adult and Juvenile) unit sales in 2015, 9% of them were Star Wars-related. And that's just counting the Star Wars books under the Science Fiction subject codes. When looking at the whole market, regardless of subject, Star Wars books accounted for almost 1% of total print sales in Canada, which is quite a lot considering the 52.2 million units sold in 2015. Of all the Star Wars books that were sold in 2015, 34% of them were Juvenile titles.
Another interesting development in the galaxy of Star Wars publishing is the average unit sales per month. Following the announcement of The Force Awakens, unit sales increased 8% within the first three months. Looking at November 2014's unit sales compared to November 2015 – Star Wars titles unit sales increased by 387%.
Subjects and Formats
The Star Wars book industry includes a multitude of products and formats. There are so many products available that we thought we'd break it down for you. In 2015, the majority of Star Wars print books sold were trade paperbacks (39%), followed by trade hardcover (29%), and mass market paperbacks (12%). Making up the remaining 20% is a myriad of different formats like audiobooks, calendars, toys, board books, mixed media products, and even a couple of kits.
You may also be surprised to learn that not all the Star Wars titles were under the Science Fiction category. Actually, there were quite a few Non-Fiction titles as well! While Science Fiction / Space Opera and Juvenile / Science Fiction each tied with 20% of the pot, the next runner-up was Comics & Graphic Novels / Superheroes, accounting for 15% of 2015's Star Wars-related book products. Some of the more unexpected subject codes you can find Star Wars titles under are: Juvenile Non-Fiction / Science & Nature / Experiments & Projects; Art / Techniques / Acrylic Painting; Crafts & Hobbies / Needlework / Crocheting; and even Political Science / Peace. (All of these subjects come directly from the new BISAC subject code specifications, which you can now use to narrow your searches on SalesData.)
As a way to end this blog post, I thought I'd share some bestselling and favourite Star Wars books. The top three Star Wars books sold in Canada in 2015 were:
- LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia (the updated and expanded edition, of course)
- Phantom Bully
- Star Wars: The Original Trilogy Stories
If you ask me, though, the best Star Wars title was Vader's Little Princess. I just can't get over mini Princess Leia and Daddy Darth! The forthcoming title that some of us BookNet geeks are most looking forward to is Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray. We love prequels full of political uprisings, backstory, and obviously more Princess Leia.