Sales of adult trade books rose 3.4% in the first quarter of 2017, over the comparable period in 2016, according to the latest figures released by the Association of American Publishers' StatShot program.

The adult trade segment was one of three major publishing categories to see an increase in the first three months of the year, over the same time frame in 2016. The higher educational course materials segment experienced the largest gain in the period, with sales up 24.3%.

Within adult trade, hardcover sales jumped 18.1% in the quarter, offsetting declines in the paperback formats. Downloadable audio had another strong period, with sales rising 23.1% in the quarter. But e-book sales continued to drop, falling 4.5% in the three-month period.

Sales in the children’s/young adult category fell 3.2% in the first quarter. The major factor driving down sales in children's/young adult was weak paperback sales. Sales in the format fell 14.2% in the quarter, offsetting a 14.6% sales gain of board books.

The area which experience the most significant decline was religious publishing; in this segment, sales dropped 7.4%.

The StatShot figures are compiled from 1,202 publishers that report to the AAP. Overall sales for reporting publishers were up 4.9% in the first quarter of 2017 over 2016.