AAP’s StatShot: US Year-to-Date Book Revenue Down 4.5 Percent in September

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In its data released today, AAP sees the US book industry’s overall revenue down 1.4 percent in September, compared to a year earlier.

At the 2022 Chess in the Park Rapid Open tournament at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain in New York City, September 17. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Bo Shen

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

Year-To-Date American Industry Revenues: US$9.3Billion
In its September 2022 StatShot report released this morning (December 5), the Association of American Publishers (AAP) cites total United States sales revenues across all categories excluding PreK-12 were down 1.4 percent by comparison to September 2021, at US$1.4 billion.

Year-to-date revenues, the AAP reports, were down 4.5 percent at US$9.3 billion for the first nine months of the year.

It’s interesting to review where things were relative to the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in September 2021. As of September 22, the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccination booster was given the green light in the States.

The Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, allowing it to be used to boost the efficacy of the two initial-vaccination injections. The booster at this point was offered only to American residents aged 65 and older and to people 18 through 64 who were either at high risk of severe illness or with occupational exposure to the virus in medical work and other professions.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the StatShot program eventually would estimate that the American market had gained 12.2 percent in 2021 overall with calendar-year 2021 revenues at US$15.4 billion.

The AAP’s numbers reflect reported revenue for tracked categories including trade (consumer books); higher education course materials; professional publishing; and university presses. Once more, PreK-12 figures have not been made available because of delays in data collection.

Trade Revenues

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Image: Association of American Publishers

In the consumer books that make up the trade, sales were down 2.6 percent in September, with a revenue point of $917.5 million

  • Hardback revenues were down 12.7 percent, coming in at $344.5 million
  • Paperbacks were down 4.2 percent, with $322.0 million in revenue
  • Mass market was up 13.5 percent at $18.6 million
  • Special bindings bucked the trend, up 1.9 percent, with $24.2 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 2.7 percent for the month as compared to September 2021 for a total $85.9 million
  • The eagerly watched downloaded audio format, true to form, was up 13.6 percent for September, coming in at $75.0 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 20.3 percent, coming in at $1.7 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

Year-to-date, the industry’s trade revenues were down 3.6 percent, at $6.5 billion for the first nine months of the year.

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 12.1 percent, coming in at $2.2 billion
  • Paperbacks were up 4.6 percent, with $2.4 billion in revenue
  • Mass market was up 20.2 percent to $143.9 million
  • Board books were down 1.6 percent, with $140.7 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were 6.3 percent as compared to the first nine months of 2021, for a total $759.2 million
  • The downloaded audio format was up 6.4 percent, at $618.2 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was 34.7 percent coming in at $10.9 million
Religious Press Performance

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Religious press revenues were down 3.6 percent in September compared to the same month in 2021, coming in at $67.4 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 5.5 percent to $40.8 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were 14.2 percent to $10.7 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 12.4 percent, coming in at $4.2 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were up 23.2 percent at $3.2 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

On a year-to date basis, religious press revenues were down 6.1 percent, reaching $522.3 million.

  • Hardback revenues were 8.4 percent at $300.5 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were 8.4 percent to $87.0 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 10.3 percent at $40.0 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were up 5.0 percent at $31.7 million
Education

During September, revenues from higher education course materials were up 1.5 percent compared to September 2021, coming in at $450.4 million.

Year-to-date higher education was down 6.7 percent, at $2.4 billion compared to the first nine months of 2021.

Professional Books

Professional books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific products, were down 13 percent during the month, coming in at $35.5 million.

Year-to-date professional book revenues were $318.4 million, down 5.3 percent as compared to the first nine months of 2021.

Methodology

We’ll quote here the methodology information, as usual, for this report. We’ve edited only slightly, to minimize promotional language and to 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. StatShot draws revenue data from approximately 1,368 publishers, although participation may fluctuate slightly from report to report.

“StatShot reports are designed to give ongoing revenue snapshots across publishing sectors using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on both a month-to-month and year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

“Monthly and yearly StatShot reports may not align completely across reporting periods, because the pool of StatShot participants may fluctuate from report to report, and because as with any business, it’s common accounting practice for publishing houses to update and restate their previously reported revenue data. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports first indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports to AAP, permitting AAP in turn to report information that is more accurate than previously reported.”


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 Publishing Perspectives on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic relative to book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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 (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.

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