eBook revenues are trending downwards at a time when the market is growing slightly. All three trade categories (adult, kids, religious presses) are showing healthy growth for the month of November and slight growth for the year, while ebooks are down 12.7%.
Curse you, Amazon, for "insisting"(*) on agency and giving publishers exactly what they wanted.
Overall publisher revenue for the 11-month period was $13.9 billion, down 2.6% from the previous year. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses). Publisher net revenue is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes sales data from more than 1,200 publishers (#AAPStats).
Publisher sales of trade books in Nov. were up 9.1% compared to Nov. 2014. The majority of the growth came from Adult Books, which were up 9.5% compared to Nov. 2014 and 3.1% year-to-date. While Childrens /YA Books had a good Nov., and were up 7.9% compared to Nov. 2014, the year-to-date figure still shows a decline of 3.8%.
Religious Presses have had several consecutive good months of sales, and Nov. continued the trend with 10.2% growth compared to Nov. 2014. The category is now up slightly at 0.9% for the year.
Downloaded audio and paperback books have grown every month in 2015 vs the same month in 2014. Within Adult Books, the most popular trade category this year, downloaded audio is up 40.3% and paperback is up 16.1%. Across all trade categories these formats are up 37.1% and 13.7%, respectively compared to the 2014 totals.
eBooks remain down 12.7% compared to the same 11 months in 2014. Looking at Adult Books, the decline in eBooks is slightly less pronounced at 7.3% decline for the year vs the same time in 2014.
Though hardback books had a strong 12.0% growth in the Adult Books category this Nov., the slight 1.9% decline in Childrens/YA books and declines from earlier in the year leaves the format down 2.4% year-to-date vs the same 11 months in 2014.
Revenues for PreK-12 instructional materials were down by 4.4% and Higher Education course materials were down 7.7% through Nov. compared to the same timeframe in 2014.
Professional and Scholarly Publishing:
Sales for Professional Publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books and journals, were down 4.7% for the year-to-date. University Presses were down 1.8% year-over-year compared to the same 11 months in 2014.
* NOTE: Figures represent publishers’ net revenue for the U.S. (i.e. what publishers sell to bookstores, direct to consumer, online venues, etc.), and are not retailer/consumer sales figures.
image by Brian Smithson