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AAP Reports Publisher Revenues Up 1.7% Through October 2017

The Association of American Publishers reported on Thursday that tradpub were continuing to strangle their ebook sales in favor of print.

In terms of category, adult fiction and non-fiction revenues were up 3.6% while YA\Kids and religious presses revenues were down.

Revenues from hardback books and audiobooks were up 5.2% while ebook and paperback revenues fell.

press release

Publishers saw increased revenues in October, up $251 million (+27.6%) for October 2017 vs October 2016. The strong month brings revenues for Jan. – Oct. 2017 to $12.44 billion, up +1.7% for the year-to-date. Every category saw an increase in revenues for Oct. 2017, which include sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.)

Trade books are up +16.5% for Oct. 2017 vs Oct. 2016 and +1.6% year-to-date. The greatest growth in the trade category was adult books, which saw $123.5 million (+25.8%) revenue growth. Publishers report that the significant increase is due to several factors including the book debuts from well-known authors.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Category for Jan. – Oct. 2017 (in millions)*

  Jan. – Oct. 2017 Jan. – Oct. 2016 Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction








Religious Presses




Total Trade




Trade Book Formats

In October, print books and audiobooks saw increased revenues, while eBooks declined in all categories except religious presses. The formats with the most significant growth in October were downloaded audio, up +41.4% and hardback books, up +25.1%.

From Jan. – Oct. for the year-to-date the hardback, board book and downloaded audio formats saw increased revenues.

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

  Jan. – Oct. 2017 Jan. – Oct. 2016 Percent Change




Paperback & Mass Market








Downloaded Audio




Other (physical audio, board book)




Education and Scholarly Publishing

The education sector saw mixed results, with +5.4% growth in Higher Education Course Materials and a -3.4% decline in PreK-12 Instructional Materials from Jan – Oct. 2017.

Revenues for Professional Books increased by +41.1% for Oct. 2017 vs Oct 2016 and are up 10.2% year to date. University Presses increased +21.8% in October and 5.1% year-to-date.

About StatShot

Publisher net revenue is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes sales data from about 1,200 publishers. 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.

image by Nikos Roussos

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Xaver Basora March 1, 2018 um 6:57 pm

Smacks like illegal shortage creation of lawful products in order to illegally boost profits. Sounds like a case of unjust enrichment.
I frankly don’t understand the animus towards ebooks. If these care lawful products that provide a revenue stream and profit. So why resist this trend? Let the customers choose and stop imposing what you publishers want.

Allen F March 2, 2018 um 12:04 pm

It’s all about control of the market.

Anyone can put out an ebook (even me!) but few can afford to do big print jobs, so they don’t want their main cash cows being turned into ebooks – it opens things up too much to outsiders getting a slice of the pie. (And as Amazon has demonstrated, a lot of people will use ebooks if it’s an option.)

Audiobooks are still small so any change looks large, and it too is harder/more expensive than making up an ebook (unless the author has a good speaking voice and can record their own.)

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