AAP: US book sales down 3.4% in first half of 2016; eBook sales down 20% through June
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) StatShot report reflects its membership of major commercial publishers, and does not include self-published eBooks or that originate from online retails such as Amazon
WASHINGTON, DC – November 16, 2016 — Publishers’ revenues (sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.) were down 3.4% for the first half of 2016 vs. the same period in 2015. The greatest percentage gains from the first half of the year came from Religious Presses, up 10.4%.
While revenue for Trade Books grew 6.7% in June, the gains were not enough to counter declines from earlier in the year, and the overall category declined 1.1% in the first half of 2016.
“After a tough first quarter – with trade sales down 7.4% from the prior year – second quarter sales have bounced back with 4.6% growth. Sales of adult, children’s and religious books all increased in the second quarter due to a mix of factors including movie tie-ins, a diversity of titles from small and midsize presses, and religious presses recovering from a tough 2015,” said Tom Allen President and CEO of AAP.
- For the first half of the year, sales in all tracked categories were down 3.4% to $5.37 billion vs. the same six months in 2015. Tracked categories include: Trade – fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.
- Publishers’ book sales for June 2016 in all tracked categories were $1.46 billion, down 4.7% from June 2015.
- In the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015, trade sales were down 1.1% to $3.03 billion:
- Adult Books had $2.11 billion in sales, down 2.8%
- Childrens/YA Books had $689.3 million in sales, up 0.9%
- Religious Presses had $222.4 million in sales, up by 10.4%
Trends for Trade by Format
- In the first half of 2016 vs. 2015:
- Paperback books grew 8.8% to $1.01 billion
- Downloaded audio grew 32.3% to $126.7 million
- Hardback books grew 0.9% $989.7 million
- eBooks were down 20.0% to $579.5 million
- Interesting trends in June:
- June 2016 had an unusually high percentage of growth in religious presses’ Paperback Books, which are up 54.6% compared to June 2015; the whole category has grown 16.8% over the past half year vs. 2015.
- June was also a month of incredible growth for downloaded audio, with 51.7% more revenue than June 2015.
- In June eBooks had their slightest monthly decline in over a year, down only 9.7%.
Educational Materials and Professional Books
- Educational Materials had a revenue loss of 2.1% for K-12 Instructional Materials and 5.9% for Higher Education Course Materials, in the first half of 2016 vs. 2015.
- Professional Publishing was down 23.1% in the first half of 2016 vs. the first three months of 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 1.7% during the first half of 2016 versus 2015.