May 23, 2022

New Data From Association of American Publishers (AAP): Overall Publishing Industry Revenues Decline 12.1% For May 2020 But E-Book and Downloadable Audio Revenues Increase (vs. 2019)

From AAP:

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for May 2020 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (consumer publications), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.

Total revenues across all categories for May 2020 were approximately $1.0 billion, a decline of 12.1% as compared to May 2019. Year-to-date sales were $4.3 billion, a decline of 4.5% as compared to the same period last year.

Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues:

Trade sales were down 7.9% year-over-year, coming in at $635.8 million. Year-to-date (Jan-May 2020) Trade sales were $2.8 billion, a decline of 1.5%, as compared to the same period in 2019.

Physical paper formats in the Trade (consumer publications) category saw declines during the month, with Hardback revenues coming in at $212.1 million, a decline of 18.5%; Paperback revenues were $201.1 million, a fall of 16.9%; and Mass Market was $22.6 million, down 0.6%. On a year-to-date basis, Hardback revenues were $967.9 million, down 6.7%; Paperbacks were $924.5 million, down 3.0%; and Mass Market was $83.9 million, a decline of 1.2% as compared to the first five months of 2019.

eBook and Downloaded Audio revenues were both bright spots in May, and on a year-to-date basis:

eBook revenues were up 39.2% for the month as compared to May 2019 for a total of $113.0 million. On a year-to-date basis, eBooks were up 7.3%, coming in at $435.4 million for the first five months of 2020.

Downloaded Audio revenues saw a 22.0% increase as compared to May of last year, reaching $54.2 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, Downloaded Audio was up 15.8% as compared to the first five months of 2019, with a total of $262.5 million for the year so far. The Downloaded Audio format has seen continuous growth every month since 2012. Notably, Downloaded Audio revenues in the Children’s and YA Books category saw a strong 69.4% year-over-year increase in May to $5.4 million, lifting the total year-to-date Downloaded Audio revenues in the category by 24.7% to $23.7 million.

Religious Presses

Religious press revenues were up 7.0% year-over-year in May, coming in at $58.5 million, but down 6.6% on a year-to-date basis, with revenues of $264.5 million for the first five months of the year.


Year-to-date revenues were down 9.9%, coming in at $1.5 billion. Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were up 19.4% to $130.0 million for the month. On a year-to-date basis, Higher Education Course Materials revenues were up 8.9%, reaching $771.5 million.

PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were $221.7 million, a drop of 32.5% compared to May of last year, and year-to-date revenues in the category were $489.5 million, a decline of 30.7% as compared to the first five months of 2020.

Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, declined 3.7% for the month, generating $53.1 million in revenue. The category saw a decline of 3.5% year-to-date, with $194.3 million in revenue during the first five months.

University Presses declined 5.4% as compared to May of 2019, bringing in $3.1 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, University Presses declined 10.1%, bringing in $16.8 million for the first five months of 2020.

AAP’s StatShot

Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.


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.