January 22, 2022

Publishers’ Overall U.S. Books Sales Down 5.6% YTD But Downloaded Audio Booms, Up 33% YTD

Here are some new statistics released today by the Association of American Publishers.

From AAP:

Publishers’ book sales for January thru April were down 5.6% for the year to date at $3.0 billion compared to $3.2 billion for the same four months last year. Adult Books and Professional Books continued their growth this year, adding 2.3% and 3.1% respectively compared to last April.

Total revenues for the publishers were down 3.3% for the month compared to April 2014. These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade-fiction/non-fiction, K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses). The monthly statistics (#AAPStats) are tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and include sales from more than 1,200 publishers


After slight growth last month, sales in Trade Books were down 2.9% for the month, and 2.1% year-to-date. While Adult Books have grown 3.5% year-to-date, Children’s & Young Adults and Religious presses were down 15.1% and 9.2% respectively compared to Jan – April 2014.

Downloaded audio continues to grow at a very healthy pace, with 33.3% growth through April. Hardback Adult Books did well this April, with 15.8% growth compared to last April. However, the growth of hardbacks is unique to the Adult Books category, since the format is down in other categories and is down 4.0% year-to-date. Ebooks are also down year-to-date by 9.3%.

Educational Materials

Revenues for PreK-12 instructional materials were up in April by 15.1%, resulting in 0.5% year-to-date growth. Higher Education course materials were down 31.6% year-to-date.

Professional and Scholarly Publishing

Sales for Professional Publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books and journals, are up 13.3% compared to the time in 2014. However, University Presses were down 6.6%.

* NOTE: 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.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.