AAP Reports Publisher eBook Revenues Down in July 2016

The Association American of Publishers released their monthly Statshot report, and the ebook news continues to be bad.

Total revenues (for the 1,200 publishers who submit data to the AAP) were down 8% in the first seven months of 2016, to $7.5 billion, while trade revenues were down a fraction of a percent ($3.63 billion).

Focusing on the trade segment, revenues from the adult category were down 3.3%, while YA and religious presses were up 6.3% and 8.3%, respectively.

In terms of formats, audiobook and print revenues were up in that period, but not enough to compensate for the decline in revenues from ebook sales, which were down 19.2%.

Here is the press release:

Childrens and Young Adult titles grew 31.1% in July 2016 vs. July 2016, with the majority of that growth coming from hardback books. While revenue for Trade Books grew in April, May, June and July, the gains were not enough to counter declines from earlier in the year, and the overall category was flat (-0.4%) for the first seven months of 2016 vs. 2015.

Overall publishers’ revenues (sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.) were down 7.9% for the first seven months of 2016 vs. the same period in 2015. The revenue decline occurred because of lower sales for higher education course materials, and Prek-12 Learning materials.


  • From January to July, sales in all tracked categories were down 7.9% to $7.5 billion vs. the same time in 2015. Tracked categories include: Trade – fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.
    • Publishers’ book sales in July 2016 declined in all categories except Children’s/YA books
  • From Jan. to July, trade sales were flat (-0.4%) to $3.63 billion:
    • Adult Books had $2.51 billion in sales, down 3.3%
    • Children’s/YA Books had $877.0 million in sales, up 6.3%
    • Religious Presses had $250.0 million in sales, up by 8.3%

Trends for Trade by Format

  • From Jan. – July 2016 vs. 2015:
    • Paperback books grew 8.4%
    • Downloaded audio grew 31.1%
    • Hardback books grew 2.6%
    • eBooks were down 19.2%

Educational Materials and Professional Books

  • Educational Materials had a revenue loss of 8.9% for K-12 Instructional Materials and 18.1% for Higher Education Course Materials, in the first half of 2016 vs. 2015.
  • Professional Publishing was down 19.4% in the first seven months 2016 vs. the same time in 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 3.9% during Jan. – July 2016 vs. 2015.

image by Radomir Cernoch

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Anthony Pero20 December, 2016

    Anecdotal, but almost all of my book purchases from traditional publishers were physical this past year.

    Because they were cheaper. In many cases, I took advantage of Amazon’s pricing and purchased the hardcover and eBook for just a dollar more than the eBook alone.

    I love when that happens, because I can turn around and resell the physical boom on eBay as “New”, and end up breaking even, with a digital copy to read for next to nothing.

  2. Purple lady21 December, 2016

    When the ebook is more expensive than the paper version I don’t buy. I look in the library, but if it’s not there I just skip it. There are plenty of ebooks available that are not price gouging and I would rather give them my money.

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