AAP Reports Trade Sales Flat, eBook Sales Down Through August 2017

The Association of American Publishers announced on Wednesday that publisher revenues increased by 1% in the month of August 2017 while remaining flat for the year to date.

The exception of course were ebooks, which were down both for the month and for the year to date.

Press release:

In August 2017, Trade publishers’ revenues (sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.) increased +1.0% compared to August 2016. For the year-to-date (Jan. – Aug. 2017) revenues were flat at 0.0%. AAP’s StatShot reports Trade Books in the categories of fiction books, non-fiction books and religious presses.

The slight revenue increase in August 2017, compared to August 2016, came from growth in Childrens and Young Adult books (up +2.9%) and Religious Presses (up +7.8%).

There was a slight decline in revenue in August and a -0.6% year-to-date decline for all tracked categories, which includes: Trade Books, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.

Seven Month Total Trade Net Revenue by Category (in millions)*

Jan. –  Aug. 2017 Jan. –  Aug. 2016 Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction $3,025.4 $2,995.7 +1.0%
Children’s/YA $1,146.5 $1176.4 -2.5%
Religious Presses $268.3 $270.0 -0.6%
Total Trade $4,440.2 $4,442.0 -0.0%

Trade Book Formats

Downloaded audio had another strong month with revenues up +27.6% in August 2017 compared to August 2016, and was up +30.2% year-to-date.

Revenues for print book formats were mostly up in August, with revenues flat for paperback books (-0.2%) and growth in all other print book categories. For the year-to-date revenues for print has been mixed, with mass market book declining by -11.4% to $207 million and hardback books increasing by 1.9% to $1.474 billion.

While eBooks continued to decline overall compared to August 2016 (-7.1%), and are down year-to-date (-5.3%), Religious Presses saw an increase in eBook revenue in August (+10%) and also year-to-date (11.9%.)

Seven Month Total Trade Net Revenue by Format (in millions)*

Jan. –  Aug. 2017 Jan. – Aug. 2016 Percent Change
eBooks $748.5 $790.1 -5.3%
Hardback $1,474.0 $1,446.9 +1.9%
Paperback & Mass Market $1,744.9 $1,785.6 -2.3%
Downloaded Audio $214.2 $164.5 +30.2%
Other (physical audio, board book) $263.6 $259.6 +1.5%

Education and Scholarly Publishing

Higher Education and PreK-12 publishers saw revenues decline during August 2017 compared to August 2016.  Year-to-date Higher Education was flat, -0.1% and PreK-12 declined -3.2%.

Revenues for Professional Books increased by 3.5% and University Presses increased 4.2% in from Jan. – Aug. 2017 compared to the same time in 2016.

image by swaplus

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. Darryl20 December, 2017

    The next Author Earnings Report, if and when it comes out, should be interesting. From memory, the last one noted the possible start of a turnaround in Big Publishing’s ebook sales. It seems from reports like this one since that this never in fact materialised.

  2. Tom S21 December, 2017

    I would like to see these figures broken out by units sold. I surmise that ebooks would show at least modest double digit growth. But of course that is not a narrative that AAP wants to promote.

  3. @Darryl,

    Data Guy said in October there would be another AE Report before the end of the year, that would “drop jaws throughout the industry.”

    Clearly that deadline is not going to be met, but maybe the jaw-dropping will happen early in 2018.

    I summarised his interim assessment of the numbers here:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top