AAP’s StatShot for September: Modest Gains in the US Market

In News by Porter AndersonLeave a Comment

Total US book sales sales in 2019 so far reached $11.4 billion, an increase of 4 percent over the same timeframe in 2018, according to the the Association of American Publishers.

Image – iStockphoto: Baris Ozer

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

September’s Downloaded Audio Up 24.3 Percent Over 2018
Released today (November 21), the Association of American Publishers (AAP)’ StatShot report indicates that total industry sales were up 8.4 percent for September of this year as opposed to the same month year ago. And it shows total industry sales for the year-to-date up 4 percent, year over year.

Overall publisher revenue for the month was US$1.54 billion. Total sales in 2019 so far were $11.4 billion.

It’s good to remember that the initial iterations of StatShot reports can be revised over time. And, as usual, the data reflects reported revenue for all tracked categories, which are:

  • Trade
  • Pre-K-12 instructional materials
  • Higher education course materials
  • Professional publishing
  • University presses
US Trade Publishing

September 2019 US Trade Book Revenue (in millions)

Quoting the association’s media messaging today,

  • The children’s books and YA category reached $243.4 million in revenues, an increase of 3.5 percent over the same month last year
  • Adult books were $479.3 million, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to September 2018
Category September 2019 September 2018 Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Nonfiction $479.3 $463.1 3.5%
Children’s/YA $243.4 $235.2 3.5%
Religious Presses $59.4 $61.3 -3.0%
Total Trade $782.2 $759.5 3.0%

Source: AAP

US Trade in Terms of Format

In terms of format, the association has several key points to highlight. As has become expected, this includes more news of increases in audio. From the report:

  • Paper formats once again dominated the trade, accounting for $588.1 million, or 75.2 percent of the category’s $782.2 million in revenue for the month of September
  • Among paper formats, paperback books saw the most growth, climbing 9.1 percent compared to the same month last year
  • Downloaded audio increased 24.3 percent over the same month in 2018, coming in at $52 million for the month
  • The downloaded audio category has seen consistent growth every month since AAP began tracking it in 2012
  • Ebook revenues decreased by 1.3 percent as compared to September 2018, coming in at $82.5 million

September 2019: Total Trade Revenue by Format (in millions)

Format September 2019 September 2018 Percent Change
Hardback $335.5 $344.3 -2.6%
Paperback $221.5 $203.0 9.1%
Mass Market $14.9 $18.0 -17.4%
Board Books $16.3 $18.4 -11.4%
Ebooks $82.5 $83.6 -1.3%
Downloaded Audio $52.0 $41.8 24.3%
Physical Audio $3.6 $3.9 -5.6%
Other $55.9 $46.5 20.2%
Total Trade $782.2 $759.5 3.0%

Source: AAP

Overall Publisher Revenue

Overall publisher revenue for the month was $1.54 billion, an increase of 8.4 percent as compared to September of 2018.

And from the report’s discussion in educational, scholarly, and professional publishing, some points of interest:

  • Pre-K-12 instructional materials stood out during the month, coming in at $267.2 million, an increase of 31.7 percent compared to the same period last year
  • September 2019 marked the seventh consecutive month that participating publishers have reported growth in that category
  • Higher ed course material revenues were $437.4 million, an increase of 5.9 percent over the same period last year
  • Professional publishing, including business, medical and law, technical and scientific, increased 22.7 percent during the period, reaching $44.7 million for the month

September 2019: Overall Publisher Revenue  (in millions)

Category September 2019 September 2018 Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Nonfiction $479.3 $463.1 3.5%
Children’s/YA $243.4 $235.2 3.5%
Religious Presses $59.4 $61.3 -3.0%
Professional Books $44.7 $36.4 22.7%
K-12 Instructional Materials $267.2 $203.0 31.7%
Higher Ed Course Materials $437.4 $413.1 5.9%
University Presses $4.3 $4.3 -0.5%
All Other $3.5 $4.0 -11.2%
Total $1,539.3 $1,420.3 8.4%

Source: AAP

The customary explanatory copy from the AAP reads: “Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).”

Participation can change over time, and includes revenue this time from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.

As the association points out, “It is not possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to StatShot reports issued in previous years because: (a) the number of StatShot participants fluctuates over time, with the pool of participants growing or shrinking in each report; and (b) it’s a common accounting practices for businesses, including publishers, to restate revenue numbers based on updated information. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports, providing information that is more up-to-date and accurate.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here. And more from us on the Association of American Publishers is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

Facebook Twitter Google+

Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

Leave a Comment