Book Publishers' Q1 2016 Sales Decline 2.7% Year-Over-Year
The latest quarterly report from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) indicates that book sales continue to decline for 1,200 publishers surveyed. Overall, sales declined for publishers 2.7% when compared to Q1 2015. Leading that decline is a 21.8% decline in ebook sales. But there were bright spots in audiobook and paperback sales which grew 35.5% and 6.1% respectively.. Sales of religious books and educational materials for both K-12 and higher education also increased in Q1.
The AAP also included sales numbers from March 2016, illustrating those stats in the infographic below. Like the quarterly results, trade book sales continued to decline, down 5.6% from March 2015. Read the full report from the AAP below.
Washington, DC; August 20, 2016 – Publishers’ revenues were down 3.0% in March 2016, and 2.7% for the first quarter of 2016 vs. the same timeframes in 2015. Trade books declined 7.4% in the first quarter due to declines in the largest categories, Adult Books (-10.3%) and Childrens/YA (-2.1%). With the trade category down, the decline in eBooks was pronounced - down 21.4% for March and 21.8% year-over-year.
- Publishers’ book sales for March 2016 were $501.8 million, down 3.0% from March 2015. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.)
- For the first quarter of the year, sales were down 2.7% to $2.14 billion vs. the same three months in 2015.
- Trade (consumer) books sales were $458.7 million in March 2016, down 5.6% from March 2015. This includes Childrens/YA Books, Adult Books and Religious Books.
- In the first quarter of 2016, compared to the first quarter of 2015:
- Trade sales were down 7.4% to $1.37 billion
- Adult Books had $941.3 million in sales, down 10.3%
- Childrens/YA Books had $320.5 million in sales, down 2.1%
- Religious Presses had $105.9 million in sales, up by 5.8%
Trends for Trade by Format
- In the first quarter 2016 vs. the first quarter 2015:
- Paperback books grew 6.1%
- Downloaded audio grew 35.3%
- Hardback books declined 8.5%
- Ebooks were down 21.8%
Educational Materials and Professional Books
- Educational Materials had gains of 8.6% for K-12 Instructional Materials and 20.3% for Higher Education Course Materials, in the first quarter of. 2016 vs the first three months of 2015. Though not as dramatic as Feb., both sectors saw gains in March, a lower volume month for sales.
- Professional Publishing was down 24.4% in the first quarter of. 2016 vs the first three months of 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 4.6%.
Publisher net revenue is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes sales data from more than 1,200 publishers (#AAPStats). Figures represent publishers’ net revenue for the U.S. (i.e. what publishers sell to bookstores, direct to consumer, online venues, etc.), and are not retailer/consumer sales figures.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.
Related story: Revenues Up for Children's, YA & Education Publishers; Overall Trade Declines
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.