In the Association of American Publishers’ first report on 2015 industry sales, the organization found that industry figures fell 2.6% in the year compared to 2014. Revenue declined to $15.41 billion from $15.82 billion in 2014. The figures reflect sales reported by 1,205 publishers to AAP’s StatShot program. Later this year AAP will release estimates for industry sales that include results from publishers that do not report directly to the association.
Only two of the seven major segments covered had an increase in sales in the year. Sales of adult books rose 2.2% in 2015, to $4.94 billion, while sales of religious presses that report to AAP increased 1.2%, to $534.8 million.
The weakest performance in the year was in the higher educational course materials and K–12 instructional materials categories, where sales fell 7.2% and 4.1%, respectively. Sales in the children’s/young adult category dropped 3.2% in the year, with revenue from reporting companies falling to $1.71 billion. Sales of university presses declined 3.1%, and sales of professional books fell 0.8%, AAP reported.
Within the adult books category, sales were strongest in the downloadable audio format, where sales rose 38.9% from reporting companies, to $205.6 million. Trade paperbacks, boosted by sales of adult coloring books, had a strong year, with sales up 16.2%, to $1.47 billion. Sales of all other formats were down, most notably in the e-book category, where sales from reporting companies declined 9.5%. Mass market paperback sales dropped 7.3% in 2015 compared to 2014, while sales of physical audio declined 5.7%. Hardcover sales dipped 0.5%.
In the children’s/YA category, the 3.2% decline was due to a 43.3% drop in e-book sales (2014 e-book sales benefitted from huge sales in the Divergent series), which offset gains in board books (up 12.6%) and paperback (up 9.5%). Sales of hardcovers in the segment fell 7.7%.
With e-book sales falling in both the adult and children’s/YA categories last year, sales of the format dropped 14.4% at the trade houses that report to AAP. E-books made up 19.8% of combined adult and children’s/YA sales last year, down from 23.3% in 2014. Print sales from the combined adult and children’s/YA segments, meanwhile, inched up 0.3% as a 1.5% increase in print sales in the adult category offset a 3.2% decline in children’s/YA.
Total audiobook sales (both downloadable and physical) rose 15.6% at the adult trade houses that report to AAP.
Industry Category Sales, 2014-2015
($ in millions)*
|K–12 Instr. Materials||$3,376.1||$3,238.2||-4.1%|
|Higher Ed Materials||$4,396.4||$4,087.0||-7.2%|
Adult Trade Book Sales, 2014-2015, by Format
($ in millions)*
|Mass Market Paperback||$351.3||$352.8||-7.3%|
*Sales reflect reports from the AAP’s StatShot program.