After having to settle for bronze in 2020 (Barack Obama and Stephanie Meyer pipping him to the #1 and #2 spots, respectively), children’s book dynamo Dav “The Dog Man” Pilkey has reclaimed his title as America’s Bestselling Author, continuing his astounding yearlong sales run with a further 2.5 million copies shifted in 2021 (the number is probably closer to 4 million when total backlist sales are totted up, but who has time for that kind of math).
As reported by Publishers Weekly earlier today, Pilkey’s Mothering Heights (Dog Man #10) was one of only two titles to sell over 1 million copies last year (compared to seven in 2020), the other being American Marxism, a lamentably popular slice of conservative doggerel from Trumpian talk radio clown, Mark Levin.
Jeff Kinney, the Messi to Pilkey’s Ronaldo (or vice versa, idk…), also had an impressive sales year, with volumes 15 and 16 of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series selling a combined 1.5 million copies. The first volume in Kinney’s latest series, Cat Kid Comic Club, placed a very respectable 15th on the PW list, with over 617 thousand copies moved in 2021.
There were mercifully fewer political nonfiction books in the top 25, with juvenile fiction (up almost 10 percent from 2020) replacing political memoir as the big genre winner.
Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle also has strong showings, with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Oh, The Places You’ll Go each selling over 700k copies, proving that you don’t need to be active on social media to move books.
Somewhat remarkably, Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem The Hill We Climb, published in a 30-page collectable gift book edition with a forward from Oprah Winfrey, sold over half a million copies in 2021.
Here’s the full list, from Publishers Weekly:
1. Dav Pilkey, Mothering Heights (Dog Man #10) (1,295,470 copies sold)
2. Mark R. Levin, American Marxism (1,025,638 copies sold)
3. Jeff Kinney, Big Shot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #16) (985,308 copies sold)
4. Charlie Macksey, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse (954,434 copies sold)
5. James Clear, Atomic Habits (894,163 copies sold)
6. Colleen Hoover, It Ends With Us (768,693 copies sold)
7. Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (731,075 copies sold)
8. Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (727,341 copies sold)
9. Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements (713,696 copies sold)
10. Kristen Hannah, The Four Winds (711,705 copies sold)
11. Adam Silvera, They Both Die at the End (684,982 copies sold)
12. Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (652,906 copies sold)
13. Matt Haig, The Midnight Library (652,763 copies sold)
14. Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing (625,599 copies sold)
15. Dav Pilkey, Cat Kid Comic Club (617,821 copies sold)
16. Hepworth/Warnes, I Love You to the Moon and Back (608,498 copies sold)
17. Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score (607,062 copies sold)
18. Jeff Kinney, Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories (577,515 copies sold)
19. Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (562,002 copies sold)
20. Dav Plikey, Grime and Punishment (Dog Man #9) (557,918 copies sold)
21. Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb (551,584 copies sold)
22. Bill Martin Jr., Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (548,592 copies sold)
23. Jeff Kinney, The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #15) (543,624 copies sold)
24. Laura Dave, The Last Thing He Told Me (531,404 copies sold)
25. John Grisham, The Judge’s List (517,436 copies sold)