Is anyone in the mood for poetic justice?
Then you'll be pleased with the latest announcement from the AAP.
On Thursday the Association of American Publishers released its latest Statshot report on revenues of the US book publishing industry.
Trade book sales for the 1,200 odd publishers who submit their data to the AAP were up 3.4% for the month of April, but still down 4.5% for the year.
Paperback and audiobook revenues increased the most in April 2016 (21.5% and 20.4%), respectively) while sales of hardback books were up 2.6%. eBook revenues were down 22% for the month of April.
For the first four months of the year, ebook and hardback revenues were down (21.7% and 5.2%), while paperback revenues were up 9.9% and audiobook sales were up 31.4%.
In other words, the Big Five are having some success in shifting ebook buyers back to print, but they are still being stymied by Amazon's decision to drive down the price of hardback books last summer.
Amazon is still keeping prices down, and that is depressing the market. That is a win for both consumers and for pundits who want to gloat at publishers shooting themselves in the foot.
O O O
Trade books grew 3.4% in April, with double-digit growth in April 2016 vs. April 2015 in Childrens/YA (12.8%) and Religious Books (13.7%). Despite that, publishers’ revenues were down 7.0% in April 2016, and 4.3% for the year-to-date vs. the same timeframes in 2015.
- Publishers’ book sales for April 2016 were $729.6 million, down 7.0% from April 2015. 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.)
o Year-to-date, sales were down 4.3% to $2.85 billion vs. the same four months in 2015.
- Trade (consumer) books sales were $534.7 million in April 2016, up 3.4% from April 2015. Year-to-date, trade is down 4.5% compared to the same time in 2015. Trade numbers include Childrens/YA Books, Adult Books and Religious Books.
- In April:
o Adult Books had $383.3 million in sales, flat (+ 0.1%) from 2015
o Childrens/YA Books had $118.0 million in sales, up 12.8%
o Religious Presses had $33.4 million in sales, up 13.7%
Trends for Trade by Format
- In April 2016 vs. April 2015:
o Paperback books grew 21.5%
o Downloaded audio grew 20.4%
o Hardback books grew 2.6%; interestingly, there was 24.2% growth in Children/YA and a 6.6% decline in Adult Books
o eBooks were down 22.7%
- Year-to-date, paperback books (9.9%) and downloaded audio (31.4%) are the categories with the most growth.
Educational Materials and Professional Books
- Educational Materials were down 13.0% for PreK-12 Instructional Materials and 81.6% for Higher Education Course Materials, in April 2016 vs. April 2015. Year-to-date the numbers are more representative, with a decline of 3.6% for PreK-12 and growth of 3.7% in Higher Ed.
- Professional Publishing was down 9.0% in April 2016 vs April 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 8.7%. Both categories show declines year-to-date as well.
image by pedrik