AAP Reports Publisher Revenue Up, eBook Revenue Down in First Four Months of 2017

AAP Reports Publisher Revenue Up, eBook Revenue Down in First Four Months of 2017 ebook sales

The Association of American Publishers released their revenue report for the first third of the year, and it's the same old news, only with a different numbers.

Overall revenues were up slightly, trade revenues were flat, and ebook revenues were down.

The AAP reported total revenues were up 4.2% for the first four months of 2017, to $3.10 billion. Buoyed by adult and religious presses, trade revenues increased by $6 million (0.3%), to $2.02 billion. The kids segment fell by 3.6%.

revenues form hardback sales rose 8.6%, to $679.1 million. Paperback sales dropped 6.8%, to $755 million. The strong growth of audiobook downloads continued, with, publisher revenue for this format jumping by 29.6%, to $100.6 million in in the first four months of 2017.

eBooks revenues, on the other hand, fell 4.6% to $374.9 million.

press release:

Revenues for book publishers were $3.10 billion for the first four months of 2017, a 4.2% increase over same timeframe in 2016, according to the StatShot Monthly report from Association of American Publishers (AAP). Much of the growth is attributed to increased revenue in higher education course materials, but Adult Books, Religious Presses and Professional Books all saw revenue increases as well.

The strong growth of downloaded audio continued in April (34.4%) and from Jan. to April (29.6%). During that time, publisher revenue for this format jumped from $77.6 million in 2016 to $100.6 million in 2017.

StatShot tracks publisher revenue on a monthly basis for about 1,200 publishers of trade (fiction/non-fiction/religious), PreK-12 instructional materials, higher education course materials, university presses and professional books.

Trade Books

Through April 2017, revenues for trade books were flat at $2.02 billion, up $6 million (0.3%) compared to the first four months of 2016. Adult Books and Religious Presses saw increased revenues and Children & Young Adult Books saw declines.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Category (in millions)*

Jan. - April 2017Jan. - April 2016Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction

$1,388.6

$1,370.4

+1.3%

Children’s/YA

$495.1

$513.4

-3.6%

Religious Presses

$131.5

$125.8

+4.5%

Total Trade

$2,015.3

$2,009.6

+0.3%

Trade Book Formats

The greatest percentage growth of publisher revenue remains downloaded audio, up 29.6% through April 2017 vs. the same four months in 2016. Revenue for print books was flat, with strong growth in hardback books and declines in paperback and mass market.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Format (in millions)*

Jan. - April 2017Jan. - April 2016Percent Change
eBooks

$374.9

$392.9

-4.6%

Hardback

$679.1

$625.5

+8.6%

Paperback & Mass Market

$755.0

$810.3

-6.8%

Downloaded Audio

$100.6

$77.6

+29.6%

Other (physical audio, board book)

$105.7

$103.2

+2.4%

Education and Scholarly Publishing

Higher education publishers saw strong revenue growth the first four months of the year, up 28.5% compared to the first four months of 2016. While the growth was impressive, Jan. – April represents a small portion of annual revenue, as most revenue for HigherEd is captured in July and December, just ahead of the Fall and Spring semesters.

Revenues for PreK-12 instructional materials declined 1.3% from Jan. – April 2017 vs. the same time in 2016.

Professional Books saw a 4.2% increase and University Press revenues were down 0.7% compared to the first four months of 2016.

Note: * All figures represent publishers’ net revenue from all distribution channels (these are not retailer/consumer sales figures).

About Nate Hoffelder (11034 Articles)

Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:

“I’ve been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It’s a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog.”

2 Comments on AAP Reports Publisher Revenue Up, eBook Revenue Down in First Four Months of 2017

  1. I like that one of your quick links is to “AAP Reports eBook, Trade Revenues Down in First Half of 2016”.

    Makes you wonder if they’d have anything positive to say if they had compared say the last five or even ten years … 😉

  2. Benjamin Handelman // 11 September, 2017 at 3:22 pm // Reply

    To quote Robert J. Sawyer from 2 years ago on the same exact topic:

    “My own take on this is that the big-five publishers have convinced themselves so thoroughly that their product is worth a premium ebook price that they can’t imagine pricing their ebooks at what has clearly turned out to be the much-lower going rate for independently published books.”

    Until we reach a point where producing and shipping physical books costs enough that Amazon stops discounting hardcovers well below what publishers will allow them to charge for ebooks, this won’t change.

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