February 24, 2017 Last Updated 8:30 am

AAP: Print and audiobook sales revenue increase through first 3 quarters of 2016, but eBook sales by member publishers falls 18.7%

WASHINGTON, DC – February 24, 2017 — The first three quarters of 2016 saw slight growth in trade books and a decline in educational and learning materials. Publishers’ revenues for all tracked categories (Trade – fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses) declined by $684.5 million from the first three quarters in 2015. Publisher revenues include sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.

Trade book revenue grew 0.6% to $4.99 billion through Sept. 2016 vs. the first three quarters in 2015. The $28.7 million growth came from children & young adult books and religious presses. Downloaded audio continues to gain popularity, growing 29.6%.

Overview of September 2016

September saw a slight increase in total sales for all tracked categories, with growth of 0.7% vs. Sept. 2015. Increases in children & young adult books and religious presses added to the year-to-date growth trend in those categories. Higher Education course materials also saw its first increase in some time, with growth of 9.2% vs. Sept. 2015.

  • In Sept. 2016, print dominated, and there was a significant bump in downloaded audio of 38.2% vs. 2015 numbers.
  • In the growing religious presses category, eBooks bucked the month and year’s trend with slight growth of 2.4%; they’re still down 20.0% year-to-date in the category.

Overview of First Three Quarters in 2016

  • For the three quarters of the year, sales in all tracked categories were down 5.8% to $11.13 billion vs. the same nine months in 2015.
  • In the first three quarters of 2016, compared to the first three quarters of 2015, trade sales were up 0.6% to $4.99 billion.

Trends for Trade by Format

  • In the first three quarters of 2016 vs. 2015:
    • Paperback books grew 7.5% to $1.62 billion
    • Hardback books grew 4.1% $1.73 billion
    • Downloaded audio grew 29.6% to $199.2 million
    • eBooks were down 18.7% to $877.1 million

For information about Higher Education Course Materials, PreK-12 Instructional Materials and Professional Books, or to download charts on third quarter sales, visit http://newsroom.publishers.org/

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