October 19, 2016 Last Updated 12:54 pm

AAP StatShot report shows May book revenue up nearly 8 %, but eBook revenue down sharply

The report tracks monthly sales from the major book publishers, members of the association, and has continued to show those publishers losing digital book sales

Washington, DC – October 19, 2016 – All measured categories in Trade Books grew in May 2016. Bolstered by increases in Adult Books (8.9%) and Religious Presses (15.6%), Trade Books grew a total of 7.8% to $570.0 million in May 2016 compared to May 2015. While April and May provided two months of gains in Trade, revenue was still down year-to-date by 2.6% compared to the same five months in 2015.

Overall publisher revenue for all tracked categories in May 2016 (Trade, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses) was up 1.6% vs May 2015; however, it remains down year-to-date by 3.3%.


  • Publishers revenue from book sales for May 2016 was $1.05 billion, up 1.6% from May 2015. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories.
    • Year-to-date, sales were down 3.3% to $3.89 billion vs. the same four months in 2015.
  • Trade (consumer) Books sales were $570.0 million in May 2016, up 7.8% from May 2015. Year-to-date, Trade is down 2.6% compared to the same time in 2015. Trade numbers include Childrens/YA Books, Adult Books and Religious Books.

Trends for Trade

  • The format trends that we’ve noted throughout the year – growth in paperback books and downloaded audio and decline in eBooks continued. In May 2016 vs. May 2015:
    • Paperback books grew 7.2%
    • Downloaded audio grew 14.9%
    • Hardback books grew 17.4%;
    • eBooks were down 18.2%
  • Religious Presses is the category with the most growth year-to-date. It’s shown growth every month to-date from the prior year. Though it’s a relatively small category with a total revenue of $176.1 million, it’s earned 8.9% growth this year.

Educational Materials and Professional Books

  • Educational Materials were up 7.2% for PreK-12 Instructional Materials and down 16.7% for Higher Education Course Materials in May 2016 vs. May 2015. These numbers have fluctuated throughout 2016 due to seasonal variations. The year-to-date numbers are more representative of trends, with flat revenues of +0.8% for PreK-12 and decline of 2.6% in Higher Ed.
  • Professional Publishing was down 28.5% in May 2016 vs. May 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were up 4.4%. Year to date, professional books are down year-to-date, and university presses are flat.