May 26, 2022

Publishing: Downloadable Audio Continues to See Strong Growth According to New Data From Association of American Publishers (AAP)

From the Association of American Publishers (AAP)

Revenues for book publishers were $3.10 billion for the first four months of 2017, a 4.2% increase over same timeframe in 2016, according to the StatShot Monthly report from Association of American Publishers (AAP). Much of the growth is attributed to increased revenue in higher education course materials, but Adult Books, Religious Presses and Professional Books all saw revenue increases as well.

The strong growth of downloaded audio continued in April (34.4%) and from Jan. to April (29.6%). During that time, publisher revenue for this format jumped from $77.6 million in 2016 to $100.6 million in 2017.

StatShot tracks publisher revenue on a monthly basis for about 1,200 publishers of trade (fiction/non-fiction/religious), PreK-12 instructional materials, higher education course materials, university presses and professional books.

Trade Books

Through April 2017, revenues for trade books were flat at $2.02 billion, up $6 million (0.3%) compared to the first four months of 2016. Adult Books and Religious Presses saw increased revenues and Children & Young Adult Books saw declines.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Category (in millions)*

Jan. – April 2017 Jan. – April 2016 Percent Change
Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction








Religious Presses




Total Trade




Trade Book Formats

The greatest percentage growth of publisher revenue remains downloaded audio, up 29.6% through April 2017 vs. the same four months in 2016. Revenue for print books was flat, with strong growth in hardback books and declines in paperback and mass market.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Format (in millions)*

Jan. – April 2017 Jan. – April 2016 Percent Change








Paperback & Mass Market




Downloaded Audio




Other (physical audio, board book)




Education and Scholarly Publishing

Higher education publishers saw strong revenue growth the first four months of the year, up 28.5% compared to the first four months of 2016. While the growth was impressive, Jan. – April represents a small portion of annual revenue, as most revenue for HigherEd is captured in July and December, just ahead of the Fall and Spring semesters.

Revenues for PreK-12 instructional materials declined 1.3% from Jan. – April 2017 vs. the same time in 2016.

Professional Books saw a 4.2% increase and University Press revenues were down 0.7% compared to the first four months of 2016.

Note: * All figures represent publishers’ net revenue from all distribution channels (these are not retailer/consumer sales figures).

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.