AAP Reports Trade Revenues Up 6.3%, eBook Revenues Down 3.2% in First Quarter

AAP Reports Trade Revenues Up 6.3%, eBook Revenues Down 3.2% in First Quarter AAP ebook sales

The American Association of Publishers reported a surprising jump in trade revenues on Friday. Overall revenues rose 6.2% ($143.2 million) while trade revenues were up 6.2%, to $1.59 billion.

In comparison, revenues rose 1% during the same period last year.

These figures reflect the revenues for the legacy publishers who send their data to the AAP, of course.

Press release

Publishers’ revenue increased by $143.2 million (+6.2%) for the first quarter of 2018 (Jan - March) compared to the same period in 2017. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses). The increases are attributed primarily to strong growth in trade (consumer) books in January and February.

Trade books increased by $94.7 million (+6.3%) to $1.59 billion in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, with growth in Adult Books, Children & Young Adult Books and Religious Presses. Publishers also saw increased revenue for Professional Books, University Presses and Higher Ed Course Materials.

Some First Quarter trends include:

  • Publishers saw revenue gains in Adult Books, Professional Books, and University Presses continuing trends from 2017
  • Adult Books saw double-digit growth in January (+13.7%) and February (+12.4%)
  • While eBook revenue decreased for the quarter, March saw 1.5% growth for the format
  • Downloaded audiobooks continue their rapid growth, with publisher revenue up 32.1% for the first quarter

First Quarter 2018: Trade Book Revenue (in millions)

Jan. – March 2018

Jan. – March 2017

Percent Change

Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction








Religious Presses








Trade Book Formats

In the first quarter, print books generally continued their growth from 2017. Revenue from print books totaled $1.14 billion, up about $67.7 million (+6.3%), from the first quarter of 2017. The increase is attributed to growth in trade’s two largest formats - hardback books (+12.0%) and paperback books (+3.2%).

Downloaded audio continued its significant growth into the first quarter of 2018, up by +32.1% over the first quarter 2017. In the first quarter of 2018, the format added $24.0 million in revenue growth compared to the same period last year, making it the format with the second highest revenue growth - just behind hardback books (up $57.1 million).

While eBooks declined by -3.2% for the quarter, they had one month of growth. Publisher revenue for eBooks grew 1.5% in March 2018 compared to March 2017, with Adult eBooks being the reason for the increase.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Format (in millions)

Jan. – March 2018

Jan. – March 2017

Percent Change




Paperback & Mass Market








Downloaded Audio




Physical Audio




Board Books








Education, Professional and Scholarly Publishing

Trends from 2017 continued through the first quarter of 2018, with revenue growth in Professional Books (business, medical, law, scientific and technical books), University Presses, and Higher Education Course Materials. Prek-12 Instructional Materials was the only tracked category that saw a decline in the first quarter.

First Quarter 2018: Education and Scholarly Publishing (in millions)

Jan. – March 2018

Jan. – March 2017

Percent Change

Higher Ed Course Materials




PreK-12 Instructional Materials




Professional Books




University Presses








Publisher net revenue is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,100 publishers, with participation subject to change over time. AAP also tracks revenue annually with AAP’s StatShot Annual Report, which includes reporting from additional publishers and data about unit sales and channels. For more information about purchasing the StatShot Monthly and StatShot Annual, email [email protected].

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 Comment

  1. The Future of Audio1 August, 2019

    […] Audio, of course, is nothing new. Radio has been around for almost a century. Yet, podcasts and audiobooks are booming: Earlier this year, Apple reported its podcasts topped 50 billion all-time downloads and streams and digital audiobook revenues continue to rise. […]


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