AAP Reports August Revenue Up for Trade Publishers in the US

In News by Porter Anderson

Once again, digital audio sales show robust gains, with ebook sales largely holding steady in August. Adult sales in the US market show a rise of $22.7 million, with children’s and YA also moving upward.

Image – iStockphoto: Scyther 5

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Digital Audio Makes More Strides
Making its monthly report from Washington DC for US publishers, this time on August, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) is citing notable gains across key sectors.

In brief, the highlights in the organization’s readout are:

  • Publishers’ revenue for trade books and preK-12 instructional materials increased in August 2018 compared to August 2017, continuing the trends seen in July data, which also indicated growth in these categories
  • For the first eight months of 2018, January through August, trade publishers saw growth in all tracked categories: adult books, children’s and YA, and religious presses, compared to the same time frame in 2017. Adult books added $153 million (+5.2 percent) for the year-to-date compared to 2017
  • Overall book publisher revenues were down slightly (-0.6 percent) through August 2018
  • Print books generally saw revenue growth, with strong gains in both hardcover and paperback books in August 2018 vs. August 2017.
  • Downloaded audio grew by double digits again, and ebooks did show some growth in certain categories.

As an aside, it’s interesting to compare these inputs with the information in Jim Milliot’s report from Monday (October 15) at Publishers Weekly in which US Census Bureau figures show a 1.2-percent fall in revenue at bookstores, following several months of gains–year-over-year in comparison to August 2017.

In regards to the new numbers on August from the AAP, remember that publishers’ net revenue is tracked monthly by the organization, and includes revenue from 1.080 publishers, with participation subject to change over time. In other words, we may see some revision of these figures along the way.

The StatShot Annual, Higher Education Annual, and preK-12 Annual reports for 2017 are available for purchase; additional information about them can be found here.

The association has provided several charts that are helpful for a quick grasp of the numbers.

By Format: Total Trade Year-to-Date Net Revenue

Of interest here, print books generally saw revenue growth in the August 2018 to August 2017 comparison, with those gains in hardcover and paperback books looking good.

Publisher revenue also increased 45.2 percent for downloaded audio compared to figures for August 2017.

Revenues for ebooks and board books were flat: up 0.2 percent for ebooks and down 0.2 percent for board books.

Mass market and physical audio declined in August 2018 compared to 2017. The association points out that other than August being a better month for ebooks and board books, the data are consistent with the year-to-date figures.

In ebooks, there’s a special note: revenue in that format was up by double-digits in the smaller religious presses category and was $4.0 million in August 2018, up from $3.4 million in August 2017. That’s a 15.8-percent increase. Ebook sales for religious presses remain flat (up 0.2 percent) for the year-to-date view.

Association of American Publishers: Year-to-Date January-to-August 2018 sales of US book publishers, in millions of dollars and by format

Education and Scholarly Publishing

In discussion, the association’s media messaging reads, “While revenues for education and scholarly publishers are down for the year-to-date in 2018 compared to 2017, August was an improvement over prior months for education publishers.

“Revenue for preK-12 instructional materials was up $5.0 million (0.9 percent) in August 2018 vs. 2017 and higher education course materials was down $5.1 million (0.6 percent).

Association of American Publishers: Year-to-Date January-to-August 2018 sales in education and scholarly US book publishing, in millions of dollars

More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is hereAnd more from Publishing Perspectives on the just-closed 2018 Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

You can review our coverage from Frankfurter Buchmesse with free downloads of our Publishing Perspective Show Daily magazines. 

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.