According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), U.S. publishers’ book sales across all platforms increased 2.4 percent in December 2010 versus December 2009 ($1.58 billion versus $1.54 billion), and 3.6 percent for all of 2010 versus 2009 ($11.67 billion versus $11.25 billion). Virtually every book publishing category showed growth in one or both comparisons, with e-books continuing to post triple-digit percentage gains.
“As more formats have evolved and are served by the publishing community, consumers have more choices. These strong sales numbers reflect the efforts of AAP publishers and the response of book audiences,” says Tom Allen, AAP’s president and CEO.
Among the sales highlights reported by the AAP:
- E-books grew 164.8 percent in December 2010 versus December 2009 ($49.5 million versus $18.7 million). In the AAP’s ninth year of tracking this category, e-books once again increased significantly on an annual basis, up 164.4 percent for 2010 versus 2009 ($441.3 million versus $166.9 million). E-book sales represented 8.32 percent of the trade book market in 2010 versus 3.2 percent the previous year.
- Books on other digital platforms also experienced healthy sales growth. For December 2010, downloaded audiobooks increased 56.7 percent to $8.9 million, and physical audiobooks increased 34.5 percent to $15.8 million. For the calendar year, downloaded audiobooks sales rose by 38.8 percent to $81.9 million (versus $59 million in 2009), while physical audiobooks fell 6.3 percent, at $137.3 million for 2010 versus $146.5 million for the previous year.
- Children’s book categories saw higher sales in December 2010 versus December 2009: Children’s/young adults paperbacks were up 4.5 percent (to $48.9 million) and hardcover children’s/young adults grew 0.2 percent (to $59.7 million). 2010-versus-2009 children’s books sales decreased somewhat; paperbacks decreased 5.7 percent (to $546.6 million) and hardcovers declined 9.5 percent (to $694.3 million).
- All three adult-book categories also showed gains versus December 2009: Adult hardcover was up 23.1 percent (to $148.2 million), adult paperback grew by 4.5 percent (to $127.6 million) and adult mass market rose by 14.6 percent (to $57.1 million). The categories fell slightly for 2010 versus calendar-year 2009 with hardbacks sales at $1.57 billion versus $1.65 billion in 2009 (a 5.1-percent decline); paperbacks reaching $1.38 billion versus $1.41 billion in 2009 (a decrease of 2 percent) and mass market at $673.5 million for 2010 versus $718.9 million (down 6.3 percent).
- Educational book sales saw full year-to-year increases: Higher education grew 7.8 percent in 2010 (to $4.58 billion) and K-12 elementary/high school (el/hi) posted a 3.2-percent gain (to $3.59 billion). K-12 el/hi also hit a 1.4-percent increase for December 2010 (to $147 million) while higher education reached $890.2 million for December (down 3.6 percent).
- Sales of university press hardcover books decreased 8.2 percent in December (to $6 million) with a 0.5-percent decline for 2010 ($57.8 million). University press paperbacks grew in 2010 by 1.3 percent (to $61.6 million) and fell 2.5 percent for December ($8.9 million).
- Professional books sales increased 5 percent for 2010 over 2009 (to $812.9 million); for December, they fell 3.5 percent (to $108.9 million).
- Religious books showed a 0.5-percent decline for 2010 versus 2009 (at $585.4 million) and a 11.8-percent decline for December ($49.9 million).