AAP StatShot: Overall US Market Down 6.4 Percent in 2022

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

In December 2022, the Association of American Publishers saw a 10-percent decline in US book sales over December 2021.

The coastal city of Bellingham, Washington, near the Canadian border with the United States, under snow on December 21, 2022. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Seastock

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

Downloaded Audio in 2022: Up 7.0 percent, at $839.5 million
The December StatShot report of US book sales has been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), citing total revenues in the American book market for 2022 across all categories down 6.4 percent at US$12.6 billion.

For the month of December itself, year over year, the figure was down 10.0 percent over December 2021, at US$995.9 million.

We can recommend to you some of the “pandemic migration” commentary provided this month by NPD Books‘ Kristen McLean—our report on it is here—as well as the perspective in her year-ending report, which we covered here. While the NPD BookScan tracks US print book sales based on point-of-sale data, rather than on the broader list of formats and sectors, industry trends are helpfully illuminated by the context that McLean and her team offer. By contrast, the StatShot program provides revenue data as reported by its publisher-members and presents its updates to various news media without comment.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the AAP’s StatShot numbers reflect reported revenue for trade (consumer books), higher education materials, and professional publishing.

Image: Association of American Publishers, StatShot

Trade Revenues: Calendar Year 2022
  • In the trade (consumer) sector, year-to-date, the StatShot program indicates that trade revenues from US book sales were down 6.2 percent, at $9.1 billion for the calendar year.

In print formats for the calendar year:

  • Hardback revenues were down 13.9 percent, coming in at $3.2 billion
  • Paperbacks were 1.1 percent, with $3.3 billion in revenue
  • Mass market was down 25.5 percent to $181.6 million
  • Special bindings were down 8.1 percent, with $206.4 million in revenue

In digital formats for the calendar year:

  • Ebook revenues were down 6.6 percent as compared to 2021, for a total $1.0 billion
  • The downloaded audio format was up 7.0 percent, at $839.5 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 29.8 percent, coming in at $15.8 million
Trade Revenues: December 2022

For the month of December itself in 2022, trade sales were down 6.3 percent at $759.2 million.

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 12.1 percent, coming in at $266.3 million
  • Paperbacks were down 1.3 percent, with $274.7 million in revenue
  • Mass market was 43.7 percent to $10.7 million
  • Special bindings were down 3.4 percent, with $20.7 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 10.2 percent for the month as compared to December 2021 for a total of $75.8 million
  • The eagerly watched downloaded audio format was up 6.8 percent for December 2022, coming in at $72.5 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 14.2 percent, coming in at $1.2 million
Religious Press Performance: Calendar Year 2022

For the calendar year 2022, religious press revenues were down 6.1 percent, reaching $757.7 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 6.6 percent at $452.5 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were down 9.7 percent to $126.3 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 12.4 percent at $55.2 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were up 5.6 percent at $42.0 million
Religious Press Performance: December 2022

Religious press revenues were down 5.0 percent in December 2022, coming in at $60.4 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 2.4 percent to $35.8 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were 20.0 percent to $10.7 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 9.8 percent, coming in at $3.8 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were up 14.7 percent at $3.1 million
Education

In higher education course materials, calendar year 2022 revenues were $2.9 billion, down 7.5 percent compared to 2021.

For the month of December itself in 2022, revenues from higher education course materials were $163.6 million, down 27.0 percent compared with December 2021.

Professional Books

Professional book revenues for calendar year 2022 were $457.4 million, down 5.5 percent as compared to 2021.

For the month of December itself in 2022,  professional book revenues—including business, medical, law, technical, and scientific—were down 19.4 percent during the month of December, coming in at $53.0 million.

Methodology

Per StatShot media messaging, “AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from US sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct-to-consumer (D2C), online retailers, and other channels. StatShot draws revenue data from approximately 1,372 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 as in 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’s 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 us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, which factors into how comparisons to performance in 2022 are seen, 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.