Barack Obama's memoir A Promised Land was the bestselling title in print of 2020 in the US, according to recently released data from NPD BookScan showing it shifted almost 2.6 million copies.
The book, published by Penguin Random House globally, was among a raft of adult non-fiction titles with a political bent to have a strong year. Three books on Donald Trump and his presidency–all published by S&S–featured in the top 25 print bestsellers of 2020 chart, shared by Publishers Weekly: Too Much and Never Enough by the president's niece Mary L Trump took the fourth top spot, The Room Where it Happened by former national security advisor John Bolton ranked 15th and Bob Woodward's Rage came 23rd.
Also a top seller was Michelle Obama’s Becoming (Crown), at number 19 after selling 596,000 copies in 2020 despite being published two years earlier. Comparatively the former first lady's memoir did better than A Promised Land (Crown), selling 3.4 million copies in the year it was published.
Books on social justice also flourished with Oprah’s Book Club pick Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House) ranking 22nd and titles by Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility, Beacon) and Ibram X Kendi (How To Be An Anti-Racist, One World) coming 9th and 14th respectively. Sales spiked in wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, PW reported.
Children's and YA fared well, too, with Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun (Little, Brown) ultimately the second bestselling title of the year. Dav Pilkey's Dog Man (Graphix) charted third, Suzanne Collins' The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Scholastic) fifth, and Jeff Kinney's The Deep End (Amulet) eighth.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (HarperOne), a 2019 Christmas hit, saw success again in 2020, coming ninth overall, as did adult fiction Where the Crawdads Sing (Putnam, 2018) and Little Fires Everywhere (Penguin, 2017), which were sixth and 18th bestselling titles respectively for the year.
Glennon Doyle entered occupied the seventh spot with Untamed (Dial), a self-help book and memoir that British singer songwriter Adele credited in helping her find "joy, happiness and freedom".