AAP StatShot July: US Trade Sales Down 5.9 Percent Year Over Year

In News by Porter Anderson

Year-to-date, the United States’ industry’s trade revenues were down 1.8 percent, at US$4.8 billion for the first seven months of the year.

At the National Gallery of Art sculpture garden during a hot July in Washington, DC. Image – Getty iStockphoto: EuroBanks

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

Year to Date, Trade Was Down 1.8 Percent
In its July 2023 StatShot report released this morning (September 19), the Association of American Publishers (AAP) cites total revenues across all categories down 10.9 percent over July 2022.

Year-to-date revenues, the AAP reports, were 0.9 percent at US$6.5 billion for the first seven months of the year.

Another month’s drop is signaled in children’s and young adult (YA) book revenues, down 10.7 percent over July 2022 numbers. Year to date, this sector—children’s and YA—is showing a negative 8.2 percent for the first seven months of the year. By contrast, adult books were down 4.6 percent year over year, but down only 0.8 percent for the first seven months.

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

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Trade revenues were down 5.9 percent in July over the same month last year, at $599.1 million.

Image: Association of American Publishers

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 1.6 percent, coming in at $165.8 million
  • Paperbacks were down 11.9 percent, with $232.1 million in revenue
  • Mass market was down 31.3 percent to $10.2 million
  • Special bindings were down 3.5 percent, with $16.0 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were up 2.3 percent for the month as compared to July 2022 for a total of $83.7 million
  • The closely watched digital audio format was up 12.1 percent in July, coming in at $69.5 million in revenue, its share of formats remaining at 11.6 percent
  • Physical audio was up 4.7 percent, coming in at $1.0 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

Year-to-date, the industry’s trade revenues were down 1.8 percent, at $4.8 billion for the first seven months of the year.

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 1.6 percent, coming in at $1.6 billion
  • Paperbacks were down 3.2 percent, with $1.7 billion in revenue
  • Mass market was up 24.8 percent to $83.2 million
  • Special bindings were down 1.9 percent, with $96.8 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were up 0.1 percent as compared to the first seven months of 2022, for a total $578.7 million
  • The digital audio format was up 16.6 percent, at $489.8 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 15.5 percent, coming in at $6.7 million
Religious Press Performance

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Religious press revenues were up 0.1 percent in July, coming in at $42.3 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 9.4 percent to $20.2 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were up 19.1 percent to $11.4 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 8.0 percent, coming in at $3.5 million
  • Digital audio revenues were down 20.0 percent at $2.5 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

On a year-to date basis, religious press revenues were up 0.6 percent at $417.9 million.

  • Hardback revenues were 1.7 percent at $238.3 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were up 3.0 percent to $88.9 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 3.1 percent at $32.2 million
  • Digital audio revenues were up 3.2 percent at $25.5 million
Education

During July 2023, revenues from higher education course materials were down 21.8 percent for the month, as compared to July 2022, coming in at $253.8, million, while year-to-date higher education was up 3.1 percent, at $1.5 billion.

Professional Books

Professional books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were down 2.8 percent during the month, coming in at $39.4 million.

Year-to-date professional books revenues were $288.7 million, down 3.9 percent as compared to the first seven months of 2022.

Methodology

We’ll quote here notes on the methodology 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 1,240 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, 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.

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.