AAP StatShot: US Book Revenues Down 11.2 Percent in April

In News by Porter Anderson

AAP’s StatShot shows the United States book market’s trade revenues were down 2.0 percent in the first four months, at US$2.8 billion.

At the John Cable Grist Mill, Cades Cove, Tennessee, April 24, a popular springtime destination. The structure dates to the mid-19th century, in the Great Smoky Mountains. Image – Getty iStockhoto: WendellAndCarolyn

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

Year-to-Date Revenues Up 0.9 Percent Across the Industry
Only higher education, as a category, persevered with higher numbers in April, the rest of the April 2023 StatShot report released this morning (June 21) by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) outlining the United States’ publishing industry down 7.6 percent in April.

Year-to-date revenues across the industry, the AAP reports, were up a scant 0.9 percent at US$3.9 billion for the first four months of this year.

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 books.

Trade Revenues

Trade (consumer books) revenues were down 11.2 percent in April, coming in at $605.7 million.

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Association of American Publishers

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 9.2 percent, coming in at $218.1 million
  • Paperbacks were down 16.3 percent, with $208.9 million in revenue
  • Mass market was down 10.7 percent to $12.7 million
  • Special bindings were down 2.8 percent, with $12.3 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 14.1 percent for the month as compared to April 2022 for a total of $71.9 million
  • The digital audio format was up 5.8 percent for April. 2023, coming in at $65.0 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 14.5 percent, coming in at $1.0 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

  • Year-to-date, the industry’s trade revenues were down 2.0 percent, at $2.8 billion for the first four months of the year.

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were  down 4.2 percent, coming in at $970.0 million
  • Paperbacks were down 1.8 percent, with $1.0 billion in revenue
  • Mass market was up down 16.0 percent to $53.7 million
  • Special bindings were up 2.8 percent, with $59.5 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 1.0 percent as compared to the first four months of 2023, for a total $332.8 million
  • The digital audio format was up 17.7 percent, at $276.9 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down by 26.7 percent, coming in at $3.5 million
Religious Press Performance

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Religious press revenues were down 5.9 percent in April, coming in at $50.1 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 8.3 percent to $28.7 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were down 5.7 percent to $8.4 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 6.2 percent, coming in at $4.3 million
  • Digital audio revenues were  up 16.7 percent at $3.7 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

On a year-to date basis, religious press revenues were up 1.2 percent, reaching $261.6 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 0.6 percent at $152.5 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were up 2.6 percent to $50.8 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 6.0 percent at $19.3 million
  • Digital audio revenues were up 16.9 percent at $15.3 million
Education

During April of this year, revenues from higher education course materials were up 32.8 percent for the month, as compared to April 2022, coming in at $80.9 million, while year-to-date higher education was up 12.4 percent, at $908.2 million.

Professional Books

Professional books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were down 1.9 percent during the month, coming in at $37.0 million.

Year-to-date professional books revenues were $162.5 million, down 2.2 percent as compared to the first four months of this year.

Methodology

We’ll quote here notes on the methodology for this report. We’ve edited only lightly.

“AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from United States 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. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, which factors into how comparisons to performance in 2021 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.