The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is the 2021 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year

Press Release

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is the 2021 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year

Booksellers chose Paul McCartney’s treasure trove spanning sixty-four years

New York, NY – November 18, 2021 – Barnes & Noble today announced that booksellers chose Paul McCartney’s The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Two-Volume Set) as the winner of Barnes & Noble’s 2021 Book of the Year.

The Lyrics is an extraordinary book. It is stunningly beautiful and a masterpiece of book design,” said Barnes & Noble CEO, James Daunt. “Paul McCartney has fashioned, through the explorations of his songs with the poet Paul Muldoon, a fascinating insight into his life and creative genius. No wonder the booksellers of Barnes & Noble have hailed this magnificent and deeply original book.”

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is an unprecedented view into the creative process of one of the greatest songwriters of all time. In this extraordinary book, with unparalleled candor, Paul McCartney recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career - from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of The Beatles, through Wings and his solo career to the present. The Lyrics is the closest to a memoir we can expect to see from Paul McCartney and the definitive gift not only for every Beatles fan this year, but for bibliophiles and everyone interested in the culture of the last 65 years.

“I’m beyond honored to receive this recognition.  My team and I are extremely proud of The Lyrics and it means so much to us that you all like it as much as we do,” said Paul McCartney. “Thank you to all the amazing team at Barnes & Noble in helping to launch the book.”

“We are ecstatic and extremely honored that The Lyrics has been selected as the 2021 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year. It’s a magical match of a legendary songwriter, who has cherished the written word his entire life, and a great bookseller that is devoted to serving America’s thriving book culture” said Robert Weil, Editor-in-Chief and Publishing Director of Liveright Publishing.

James Daunt will be in conversation with Paul McCartney on Barnes & Noble’s  YouTube Channel to discuss The Lyrics this evening at 7:00PM ET.

This year Barnes & Noble booksellers around the country nominated their top books from 2021, which were narrowed down to eight titles by a selection committee, including Mr. Daunt. The Lyrics was then voted on by booksellers as the 2021 Book of the Year. Here is what booksellers had to say about the winner:

“As a musician, The Lyrics is incredibly special to me. The Beatles have been so influential in my life and to be able to see behind the scenes and into the mind of Paul McCartney is something very cool! This is the type of book that won't just live on my coffee table as a gorgeous representation of the music I love, but it will live in my mind as I happily hum some of the greatest music ever written long after I've finished reading” – Scarlet R, Fairfax, VA

“Perfection, achieved. This collection is a true benchmark for showcasing the kaleidoscopic history of one of our greatest musical souls.” – Marc C, Cincinnati, OH

The Lyrics is like Paul McCartney took all the scraps of paper where he wrote down little ideas and then connected the dots for each of us to see how something so simple as a scrap of paper can become the greatest music of any generation. It is something that I will be pouring over for years to come. It's a gift to me but it would be a great gift to any Beatles fan.” – Michele L, New York, NY

“A beautifully made book - perfect for any Beatles lover .  . . Read about the bus tour the Beatles took with Roy Orbison while they were writing ‘From Me To You’ and he was writing ‘Pretty Woman’. Or read about the first time Paul played ‘Hey Jude’ to John and Yoko. It's just an amazing collection of memorabilia and memories spanning more than 60 years of songs from the one and only Paul McCartney.” –  Joe M, Frederick, MD

The Lyrics is a stunning and visually beautiful book, the expression of an extraordinary life, an interplay of memoir, history, poetry, and music-making. Who knew that these lyrics — some in-your-bones familiar and others almost new — would be so fascinating, revealing, and evocative?” – Winifred S, Chicago, IL 

Barnes & Noble introduced its Book of the Year in 2019 – a program that asks its booksellers across the country to nominate the book they are most excited and proud to sell.  There are no limitations on their nominations, not genre, length, reader age, or even publishing date.  All books are eligible.  In 2019 the honor propelled the hitherto obscure The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by British author, Charlie Mackesy into the bestseller list, where it has remained and is regarded to be a publishing sensation. Last year’s World of Wonders, from Milwaukee based nonprofit publisher Milkweed won the annual honor,  enamoring readers nationwide.  

Barnes & Noble is also announcing a Speculative Fiction Book of the Year, TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Door. His prior book, The House in the Cerulean Sea captured the love of Barnes & Noble booksellers across the country and won the hearts of #booktok fans. Under the Whispering Door continued the momentum with a delightful book about life with Death as a character and a ghost who doesn't want to cross over to whatever's next.

“We are this year also naming a Speculative Fiction Book of the Year, in celebration of the massive bookseller and customer enthusiasm for the category and especially this year for TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Door,” said Shannon Devito, Director of Books, Barnes & Noble. “Championed passionately by our booksellers since its September publication, Under the Whispering Door is a charming, big-hearted book with a little comfort and a lot of hope making it the must-read book this year.  We find ourselves in the wonderful position of honoring them both.”

The other Book of the Year Finalists were:

 Barnes & Noble booksellers connect readers with the best in publishing, with the goal of helping customers discover their next great read or favorite new author. The Book of the Year is the capstone on a year of engaging programs, including the Barnes & Noble Book Clubs, Discover Debut Authors, Monthly Picks, Children’s and YA Book Awards, and Best Books. The goal of each program is to highlight the titles that Barnes & Noble booksellers are most excited about.

Customers can find the Book of the Year and Book of the Year Finalists at their local Barnes & Noble and on They can also join the conversation on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, using the hashtag



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