Publisher Revenue Up 4.5% Through April 2019, eBook Revenues Down 2.5%

For some reason I do not understand, I have fallen off the AAP's mailing list. Here is a belated report on publisher revenues from the Association of American Publishers.

Publisher revenue was up for the period through April 2019, but down for the month. Total publisher revenue was $3.36 billion, up 4.5%. Revenue in April was $793.5 million, down 1.6% from last year.

Revenue from trade book sales was down half a percent in April, to $585 million. paperback and audiobook revenues were both up, while hardback and ebook revenues were down.

There are more details in the press release.

Publisher Revenue Up 4.5% Through April 2019, eBook Revenues Down 2.5% AAP ebook sales

press release

From January 2019 through April 2019, overall participating publisher revenue was $3.36 billion, an increase of $144.4 million (+4.5%) compared to the same period in 2018, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) StatShot Monthly report. For April 2019, publisher revenue was $793.5 million, a decrease of $13.1 million (-1.6%) compared to the same period in 2018 for all tracked categories (Trade, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing and University Presses.)

Trade Publishing

In April 2019, publisher net revenue for trade (consumer) books, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., was $585.1 million, which is relatively flat compared to April 2018 ($587.8 million). Religious Presses lead in revenue growth with 9.5% growth, followed by children’s & young adult books at 6.7%. Revenue for adult books declined 4.4% this month.

April 2019 Trade Book Revenue (in millions)

April 2019April 2018Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction$374.8$391.9-4.4%
Children’s/YA$156.1$146.46.7%
Religious Presses$54.2$49.59.5%
Total Trade$585.1$587.8-0.5%

Adult hardback books, in particular, had a difficult month showing -16% revenue decline and setting the curve to a -5.5% revenue decline for all trade hardback sales, despite double digit revenue growth for hardback books for children and young adults (+13.9%) and religious presses (+10.7%). For adult books, mass market was the best performing print format with increased revenue of 3.7% to net $20.4 million in revenue.

Downloaded audio books continues to be the format with the highest growth closing April 2019 with 28.7% increased total revenue from the prior year to $49.1 million. While eBooks declined 2.5% overall for April, eBook revenue for religious presses increased 1.8% compared to prior year.

April 2019 Trade Revenue by Format (in millions)

April 2019April 2018Percent Change
Hardback$210.3$222.6-5.5%
Paperback & Mass Market$206.4$203.41.5%
eBooks$83.9$86.0-2.5%
Downloaded Audio$49.1$38.128.7%
Physical Audio$3.1$3.7-16.4%
Board Books$9.2$8.76.4%
Other$23.1$25.2-8.4%
Total Trade$585.1$587.8-0.5%

Education and Scholarly Publishing

For April 2019, total revenues for participating education and scholarly publishers were $204.8 million, a decrease of 5.1% compared to April 2018. Both PreK-12 Instructional Materials (+19.5%) and University Presses (+1.3%) saw increases compared to the prior year.

April 2019 Education and Scholarly Publishing (in millions)

April 2019April 2018Percent Change
Higher Ed Course Materials$17.7$47.2-62.4%
PreK-12 Instructional Materials$149.8$125.319.5%
Professional Books$34.0$40.1-15.2%
University Presses$3.3$3.31.3%
Total$204.8$215.9-5.1%

Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.

The StatShot Annual, Higher Education Annual, and PreK-12 Annual reports for calendar year 2018 are available for purchase. For additional information about these reports, email Syreeta Swann at [email protected]

image by Bohman 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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