AAP’s February US StatShot: Trade Up 9.5 Percent

In News by Porter Anderson

The Association of American Publishers’ StatShot for February sees downloaded audio down 3.3 percent, up just 0.2 percent year-to-date.

On Lake Michigan in Chicago. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Shelly Bychowski

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

Trade Paperbacks Up 28.5 Percent
In its StatShot report released this morning (May 11), the Association of American Publishers (AAP) cites total revenues across all categories up 4.1 percent in February at roughly US$968 million.

Year-to-date, revenues rose 3.3 percent to $2.2 billion for January and February.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the AAP’s numbers reflect reported revenue for tracked categories including trade (consumer books); K-12 instructional materials; higher education course materials; professional publishing; and university presses.

Trade at US$705.2 million

Trade (consumer books) sales were up 9.5 percent in February, coming in at $705.2 million.

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Image: AAP

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were up 8.5 percent, at $247.3 million
  • Paperbacks were up 28.5 percent, with $241.5 million in revenue
  • Mass market was down 26.4 percent to $16 million.
  • Special bindings were up 21.2 percent, at $16.6 million in revenue.

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 6.9 percent for the month as compared to February 2021, for a total of $91.5 million
  • The avidly watched downloaded audio format was down 3.9 percent in February, at 68.9 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 3.8 percent, coming in at $1.2 million

As we like to point out with each of these reports, the special enthusiasm for downloaded audio is perfectly understandable after some nine years of double-digit growth like that seen in today’s report.

Indeed, we’re looking forward to moderating a discussion on audio (both audiobooks and podcasts) on Monday (May 16) in the Jerusalem International Book Forum. In Listen Up: Audiobooks, Podcasts, and New Opportunities, Publishing Perspectives will be joined by:

  • Bookwire’s Videl Bar-Kar,
  • iCast and Storytel’s Moti Lippman, and
  • Curtis Brown’s Sophia MacAskill

If you’ll be in Jerusalem for the return of the in-person forum, we hope you’ll consider joining us for the conversation.

And in the month of February, as is reflected in the graphic you see here, downloaded audio stood at 9.8 percent of the market, physical audio at 0.2 percent. Ebooks were at 13 percent.

Year-to-Date Numbers

Year-to-date, the industry’s trade revenues were up 6.8 percent at $1.4 billion for January and February.

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were 7.7 percent, at $508.8 billion
  • Paperbacks were 17.6 percent, with $492.1 billion in revenue
  • Mass market was down 14.8 percent to $35.1 million
  • Special bindings were up 4.5 percent, with $30.8 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues sagged 8.4 percent as compared to the first two months of 2021, for a total $172.9 million million
  • The downloaded audio format was slightly up, by 0.2 percent, at $131 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down by 25.1 percent, at $2.4 million
Religious Press Performance

Year Over Year Numbers

Among religious presses, revenues were down in February by 11.2 percent, at $57.5 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 14.5 percent to $36 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were up 15.6 percent to $7.4 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 10.6 percent, at $4.5 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were down 21.1 percent at $4.4 million.

Year-to-Date Numbers

On a year-to date basis, religious press revenues were down 0.7 percent, at 122.2 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 4.1 percent at $74 million
  • Paperback revenues were up 16.1 percent at $19 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 11 percent at $7.9 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were down 13.3 percent at $7.1 million

During February, higher education course-material revenues were $224.1 million, down 9.4 percent compared with February of last year.

Year-to-date, those higher education course materials’ revenues stood at $669.8 million, down 2.9 percent in comparison to January and February 2021.

PreK-12 data has for February has been delayed, according to the team at the association. Those figures will be brought forward at a later. date.

Professional Books

Professional books, which include business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were up 4.6 percent during the month, coming in at $30.3 million.

Year to date professional book revenues were $61.8 million, down 0.5% as compared to the first two months of 2021


We’ll quote here the essentials of the methodology involved, editing to minimize promotional language and do away with a few institutional capitalizations.

“AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from US sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, and other channels, with revenue coming from approximately 1,367.

  • The pool of StatShot participants may fluctuate from report to report
  • Like any business, it’s common accounting practice for publishing houses to update and restate their previously reported revenue data

More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here. More on the Association of American Publishers is here, more of our coverage of AAP StatShot reports is here, and more on the US market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

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.