January 22, 2022

Publishing: Publisher Trade Book Sales Up 3.4% in April, Remain Down Year-to-Date

From the Association of American Publishers (AAP):

Note: Publisher net revenue is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes sales data from more than 1,200 publishers. 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.

Trade books grew 3.4% in April, with double-digit growth in April 2016 vs. April 2015 in Childrens/YA (12.8%) and Religious Books (13.7%).

Despite that, publishers’ revenues were down 7.0% in April 2016, and 4.3% for the year-to-date vs. the same timeframes in 2015.


Publishers’ book sales for April 2016 were $729.6 million, down 7.0% from April 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.)

In April 2016

  • Adult Books had $383.3 million in sales, flat (+ 0.1%) from 2015
  • Childrens/YA Books had $118.0 million in sales, up 12.8%
  • Religious Presses had $33.4 million in sales, up 13.7%
  • Year-to-date, sales were down 4.3% to $2.85 billion vs. the same four months in 2015.
  • Trade (consumer) books sales were $534.7 million in April 2016, up 3.4% from April 2015.
  • Year-to-date, trade is down 4.5% compared to the same time in 2015. Trade numbers include Childrens/YA Books, Adult Books and Religious Books.

Trends for Trade by Format (April 2016 vs. April 2015)

  • Paperback books grew 21.5%
  • Downloaded audio grew 20.4%
  • Hardback books grew 2.6%; interestingly, there was 24.2% growth in Children/YA and a 6.6% decline in Adult Books
  • eBooks were down 22.7%
  • Year-to-date, paperback books (9.9%) and downloaded audio (31.4%) are the categories with the most growth.

Educational Materials and Professional Books

  • Educational Materials were down 13.0% for PreK-12 Instructional Materials and 81.6% for Higher Education Course Materials, in April 2016 vs. April 2015.
  • Year-to-date the numbers are more representative, with a decline of 3.6% for PreK-12 and growth of 3.7% in Higher Ed.
  • Professional Publishing was down 9.0% in April 2016 vs April 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 8.7%. Both categories show declines year-to-date as well.

See Also: Publisher Sales $2.14 Billion in the First Quarter of 2016, E-Books and University Press Book Sales Decline (September 20, 2016)

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.