AAP Reports eBook Sales Down 5% in January 2019

The Association of American Publishers reported Thursday that publisher reported revenue fell in  the first month of 2019. Combined revenue for trade (consumer) books was $543.8 million in January 2019, down 3.2% from January 2018. The adult books category fell to $352.5 million, down 7.3%, while kids/YA rose 4.3%, to $131.8 million, and religious presses rose 8.1%, to $53.8.

By format, revenue from sales of hardback books fell 7.8%, to $185.3 million, while paperback sales fell 5.7%, to $190.5 million. And ebook sales were down from last year, of course. They totaled $79.7 million.

press release:

In January 2019, publisher revenue for trade (consumer) books was $543.8 million, down -3.2% from January 2018, according to the Association of American Publishers StatShot Monthly report. Among the three trade book categories, increased revenue for Religious Presses (8.1%) and Children’s/Young Adult (4.3%) in January 2019, partially offset a decline in Adult Books (­-7.3%) for the same period in 2018. Revenue for trade books includes sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.

Overall participating publisher revenue was $1.06 billion in January 2019, down from $1.11 billion in 2018 (-3.8%) for all tracked categories (Trade, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing and University Presses).

Trade Publishing

January Trade Book Revenue (in millions)

Jan. 2019

Jan. 2018

Percent Change

Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction








Religious Presses




Total Trade




The decline in Adult Books was largely due to a decline in revenue from hardback books. However, within Religious Presses, revenue for hardback books increased 19.0% from the prior year, while revenue for paperback books and eBooks declined. The Children’s and Young Adult category had increases in hardback, paperback, and board books in January 2019, accompanied by a decline in eBooks for the same period.

Downloaded audio remains the format with the highest percent revenue growth (36.1%), with double-digit increases in each of the three trade categories. eBook revenue continues to decline from prior years, down -4.9% in January 2019 from the same period in 2018.

January Trade Revenue by Format (in millions)

Jan. 2019

Jan. 2018

Percent Change





Paperback & Mass Market








Downloaded Audio




Physical Audio




Board Books








Total Trade




Education and Scholarly Publishing

Revenues for participating education and scholarly publishers declined in all categories (Higher Education, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Professional Books and University Presses) for January 2019 as compared to 2018.

January Education and Scholarly Publishing (in millions)

Jan. 2019

Jan. 2018

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 1,375 publishers, with participation subject to change over time. The StatShot Annual, Higher Education Annual, and PreK-12 Annual reports for 2017 are available for purchase; additional information about them can be found here.

image by gidlark via Flickr

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.


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