Last year, religious book sales in the U.S. rose more than 10.5 percent to eclipse 52.4 million units, according to Nielsen BookScan. Sales in the overall book market could not keep pace, growing only 2.4 percent from 2013. Sales in the first half of 2015, however, have slowed somewhat, as adult nonfiction sales were down 3.72 percent in the first 25 weeks and adult fiction sales were up just 6.4 percent.
Across the broader religious category, Christian books have seen particularly strong sales, especially juvenile and nonfiction titles. While all adult nonfiction religious titles experienced a combined average growth of almost 8.9 percent between 2009 and 2014, the nonfiction Christian subcategory saw growth of almost 11.3 percent. The Christian nonfiction subcategory has also significantly outpaced Christian fiction, which actually posted a double-digit decline between 2013 and 2014.
Overall, women are bigger Christian book buyers than men, but they gravitate more toward Christian fiction titles. Almost half of Christian book-buying households earn less than $50,000, and about half of Christian book buyers are older than 45.
Bibles are an important part of the Christian book market. Unlike overall Christian book-buying trends, the majority of Bible buyers are male (58 percent), and 80 percent are under 45 years old. They are also active online, as 45 percent of Bible buyers are on social media daily. About half of Bible-buying households earn more than $50,000.