Barnes & Noble says sales of books related to anxiety are soaring. Here's why

Barnes & Noble said sales of books related to anxiety are up more than 25 percent through this past June from a year ago because "we may be living in an anxious nation."

Shoppers are increasingly looking at workbooks that help them cope with anxiety, Barnes & Noble senior director of merchandising, Liz Hardwell, said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. Although times may be tough, wrought with political tension, "the good news is that book buyers across the country are also looking for solutions to their stress," she said.

Top-selling titles, based on the bookseller's sales data, include "The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne, "The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Moving Past Your Stuck Points" by Alice Boyes, and "The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution" by David Clark and Aaron Beck.

New York-based Barnes & Noble, which faces its own struggles with Amazon and Walmart investing in growing their book verticals with tablets and e-readers, said the state of California has had the largest increase in interest in anxiety books in stores over the past year. The next largest increases were in Michigan and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, shoppers in Texas, North Carolina and Florida had the biggest decrease in interest in anxiety books, according to the bookseller's sales data.

There are still some customers looking for happiness, though. Sales of books related to "finding happiness" climbed a whopping 83 percent from a year ago, Barnes & Noble said. Tennessee was the state with the biggest increase in interest in this particular category of merchandise.

Shares of Barnes & Noble were falling about 2 percent Wednesday afternoon, having lost more than 20 percent from a year ago. The bookseller has a market cap of roughly $435 million today.

Barnes & Noble also just last month fired its CEO, Demos Parneros, for violating company policies. The retailer has yet to name a replacement and hasn't specified exactly which policies were violated.

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