Judging by the latest revenue report from the Association of American Publishers, last month's report of a jump in ebook sales was exactly what it looked like: an anomaly.
Total publishers’ revenues were up by $195.9 million (3.5%) for the first half of 2017, to $5.72 billion. Trade revenues rose by 3%, to $3.27 billion, largely as a result of revenues from hardback and downloadable audiobook sales.
Both paperback and ebook revenues were down in the first half of the year, with ebook revenues dropping $26.8 million (4.6%), to $555.7 million.
Publishers’ revenues (sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.) were $5.72 billion - up by $195.9 million (3.5%) for the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Tracked categories include: Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.
Revenue for Trade Books grew by 3.0%, with revenue increases in both Adult Books and Childrens/YA books over 2016.
“What a testament to the importance of the publishing industry,” said Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO, Association of American Publishers. “Whatever the category, format or distribution platform, books remain a constant in the marketplace and in our lives.”
- By Category: In the first half of 2017, compared to the first half of 2016, trade sales were $3.27 billion - up by $95.8 million (3.0%)
- Adult Books had $2.22 billion in sales, up $66.7 million (3.1%)
- Childrens/YA Books had $852.4 million in sales, up $36.8 million (4.5%)
- Religious Presses had $197.0 million in sales, down by $7.7 million (-3.8%)
- By Format: In the first half of 2017 vs. 2016
- Paperback/Mass Market books had $1.27 billion in sales, down $23.6 million (-1.8%)
- Hardback books had $1.11 billion in sales, up $98.7 million (9.7%)
- eBooks had $555.7 million in sales, down $26.8 million (-4.6%)
- Downloaded audio had $157.7 million in sales, up $38.2 million (32.0%)
- Other formats (including board books, physical audio) had $181.8 millionin sales, up $9.4 million (5.4%)
Below is a chart that shows the market share of various Trade Book formats for the first half of the year from the past six years. Print books - including paperback, mass market and hardback - account for more than 70% of publisher revenue of trade books. Audiobooks more than doubled their share since 2011.
Educational Materials and Professional Books
- Educational Materials: In the first half of 2017, compared to the first half of 2016
- PreK-12 Instructional Materials had revenues of $1.19 billion, flat at +0.1%
- Higher Education Course Materials had revenues of $941.8 million, up by 11.2%
- Professional Books and University Presses: In the first half of 2017, compared to the first half of 2016
- Professional Books had revenues of $273.2 million, up 0.7%. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books.
- University presses had revenues of $24.6 million, up 2.5%
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.