At the same time, ebook revenues for the 1200 odd publishers submitting data to the AAP were down 20%, continuing the trend we've seen since the return of agency pricing in the US market.
The first three quarters of 2016 saw slight growth in trade books and a decline in educational and learning materials. Publishers’ revenues for all tracked categories (Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses) declined by $684.5 million from the first three quarters in 2015. Publisher revenues include sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.
Trade book revenue grew 0.6% to $4.99 billion through Sept. 2016 vs. the first three quarters in 2015. The $28.7 million growth came from children & young adult books and religious presses. Downloaded audio continues to gain popularity, growing 29.6%.
Overview of September 2016
September saw a slight increase in total sales for all tracked categories, with growth of 0.7% vs. Sept. 2015. Increases in children & young adult books and religious presses added to the year-to-date growth trend in those categories. Higher Education course materials also saw its first increase in some time, with growth of 9.2% vs. Sept. 2015.
- In Sept. 2016, print dominated, and there was a significant bump in downloaded audio of 38.2% vs. 2015 numbers.
- In the growing religious presses category, eBooks bucked the month and year’s trend with slight growth of 2.4%; they’re still down 20.0% year-to-date in the category.
Overview of First Three Quarters in 2016
- For the three quarters of the year, sales in all tracked categories were down 5.8% to $11.13 billion vs. the same nine months in 2015.
- In the first three quarters of 2016, compared to the first three quarters of 2015, trade sales were up 0.6% to $4.99 billion.
Trends for Trade by Format
In the first three quarters of 2016 vs. 2015
- Paperback books grew 7.5% to $1.62 billion
- Hardback books grew 4.1% $1.73 billion
- Downloaded audio grew 29.6% to $199.2 million
- eBooks were down 18.7% to $877.1 million
Educational Materials and Professional Books
- Educational Materials had a revenue loss of 6.9% for K-12 Instructional Materials and 11.3% for Higher Education Course Materials, in the first three quarters of 2016 vs. 2015.
- Professional Publishing was down 23.6% in the first three quarters of 2016 vs. the first three quarters of 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 4.5% in the first half of 2016 vs. 2015.
Publisher net revenue is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes sales data from more than 1,200 publishers (#AAPStats). 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 Ryan McCullah