AAP StatShot: US Book Industry Up 3.5 Percent in January

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The first monthly StatShot report from the Association of American Publishers in 2023 shows trade revenues up 3.1 percent in January.

In Tahoma, California, on the shore of Lake Tahoe. in January, the Palisades ski area at Tahoe reported more than 14 feet of snowfall (more than 4.2 meters), close to the region’s seasonal average. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Hale Irwin

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

Total Revenues US$1.3 Billion in January
IN its January 2023 StatShot report, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) cites total revenues across all categories up 3.5 percent over January 2022.

In the trade sector, sales were up 3.1 percent, at US$754.9 million.

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

Trade Revenues

Image: Association of American Publishers

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were up 0.3 percent, coming in at $264.0 million
  • Paperbacks were up 7.0 percent, with $276.9 million in revenue
  • Mass market was down 35.7 percent to $12.4 million
  • Special bindings were down 2.1 percent, with $15.6 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were up 3.7 percent as compared to January 2022 for a total of $85.0 million
  • Digital audio–this term now is being used instead of the earlier downloaded audio–was up 9.2 percent, coming in at $69.6 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 11.7 percent, coming in at $1.1 million
Religious Press Performance

Religious press revenues were down 1.8 percent January, coming in at $73.3 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 4.5 percent to $40.3 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were down 1.3 percent to $15.8 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 2.2 percent, coming in at $4.2 million
  • Digital audio revenues were up 9.5 percent at $2.9 million
Higher Education

During January, revenues from higher education course materials were up 4.1 percent over January 2022, at $463.3 million.

Professional Books

Professional books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were up 1.2 percent during the month, coming in $43.8 million.

Methodology

We’ll quote here notes on the methodology for this report. We’ve edited only slightly, to minimize promotional language.

“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 1,240 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
  • “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 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

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.