Andrew AlbaneseThe holiday season marks the time of year when just about everyone wishes for miracles. As 2016 ended, the book world crossed its fingers, closed its eyes and said a quiet prayer for an upturn in sales.

This first week of January, booksellers and publishers have tallied up their business activity in the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. For Barnes & Noble, the nation’s only surviving bookstore chain, the holidays weren’t very ho-ho-ho.

“The retailer reported that the 2016 holiday sales came in below expectations, with comparable store sales down 9.1% in the nine-week period ended December 31, 2016 compared to a year ago,” says Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “B&N attributed the decline to lower store traffic and—wait for it—a decrease in adult coloring books and supplies. Yes, it appears the coloring book craze is on the wane.”

“As 2016 closed there were at least a few positives for the company,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “B&N officials noted that book sales outperformed the company as a whole. A bright spot was, where sales rose 2% over the holidays.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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