AAP Reports Sharp Decline in eBook Revenues in January 2015
According to the 1,200 odd publishers who submit their data to the AAP’s Statshot program, revenues for the month of January 2015 were up +0.9% to $543 million over January 2014.
Update: the AAP has revised the revenue stats for January.
Aside from that the actual details are sparse this month. The AAP didn’t release specifics, so I can’t offer much in the way of financial stats.
But the press release did tell us that the adult trade segment increased by 0.6%, and that religious presses were up 11.1% (with most of the growth in hardback books). Kids/YA segment declined by 1.6%. According to the AAP, this segment saw great paperback and board book revenues (10.9%, 34.1%, respectively)which were damped by a sharp decline in ebook sales (37.4%).
In related news, the AAP also reported that the curricula market was down 7.8% in January 2015 from the year before ($1.06 billion dollars, from $1.15 billion).
In terms of formats, paperbacks, hardbacks, and audiobooks all saw great growth in January 2015, but ebooks did not. Paperback revenues were up 10.4%, while hardbacks increased by 3.6% and audiobooks 11.5%.
Revenues from ebook sales, on the other hand, did not carry over momentum from 2014, and were down by -10.2%.
AAP reported last month that ebook revenues ended the year up 4.7%, but as anyone who followed publishing news over the past couple months that trend was not going to continue.
In the last few months of 2014 Amazon signed new contracts with several major US trade publishers. Those contracts included provisions for agency priced ebooks. This both raised the prices of ebooks published by S&S, Macmillan, and Hachette and blocked retailers from discounting.
We saw the obvious result in January: consumers switched to other formats and other segments of the industry (ones not tracked by the AAP).
How much would you bet that the trend in declining ebook revenues will continue?
I’m expecting the decline to continue in February and to get a lot worse when we get the figures for April and May 2015; those will reflect HarperCollins' new agency ebook contract.
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