Fresh voices in poetry

In an unprecedented transformation of popular culture, Andrews McMeel Universal is again at the forefront.

Over the past three years, what has historically been a limited, niche publishing category has exploded in popularity, with total sales of poetry books growing roughly 25% since 2015. Of the nearly 5 million poetry books sold in 2017, almost half were published by AMU.

Leading the phenomenon is Rupi Kaur. Published in 2015, Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, has been on The New York Times best-seller list for more than 88 consecutive weeks. Named the top fiction title in 2017 by Barnes & Noble, it has been translated into more than 26 languages and has been the #1 title overall in the U.S. for most of the year, according to Nielsen Bookscan.

Kaur’s most recent book, The Sun and Her Flowers, debuted at #1 on The New York TimesThe Times of London, and Globe and Mail best-seller lists and is already in its second printing after a 1-million copy first print run; more than 50,000 copies sold the first day. It debuted at #2 on the The New York Times Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers list (behind Dan Brown’s Origin).  It is a 2017 Goodreads Choice Award winner.

Yet Rupi is not alone; Andrews McMeel poetry titles are outselling every other publisher combined. Adding in The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and three Whisky Words & A Shovel collections from R.H. Sinn, Andrews McMeel titles comprise seven of the top 10 best-selling poetry books, according to Nielsen Bookscan. We are the premier, dominant publisher – with more than 50% of Nielsen Bookscan’s Top 10 and Top 50 titles – in the Poetry category.

“What really opened up this category for us was our discovery of Lang Leav and Love & Misadventure in 2013,” said Kirsty Melville, president and publisher of Andrews McMeel Publishing. “Her fresh voice and devoted fan base signified a breaking-down of barriers and revealed a massive audience of young women eager for this type of content. When combined with our development and distribution expertise, this partnership is what really set things in motion and led to our current position within the marketplace.” AMU recently released Leav’s fourth poetry title, Sea of Strangers.

With an elite cadre of talented, refreshing new poets on our publishing roster attracting an engaged and enthusiastic new generation of readers to the genre, we believe this movement – and Andrews McMeel’s leadership – will only continue to grow. It’s one more example of our uncanny ability to anticipate trends, discover and develop talent, and build emotional connections through the unique content of our creators.