Final estimates by the Association of American Publishers put total 2017 industry sales at $26.23 billion, down slightly from the $26.27 billion generated in 2016. Sales in the trade segment, the industry's largest, rose 0.3% over 2016, to $15.95 billion. The gain in trade was led by a 5.4% increase in adult nonfiction sales that offset declines in adult fiction, children's/young adult fiction, and religion.
Among the other major industry categories, higher education sales inched up 0.5%, to $3.98 million, but preK-12 sales dropped 2.9%, to $3.62 billion. Sales in the professional segment fell by less than 1%, to $2.35 billion.
The numbers are based on figures submitted by over 1,200 publishers (which were $15.55 billion), combined with estimates based on AAP's model for publishers that did not report sales.
Among some of the other highlights about the trade market in the report is the growth of downloadable audio. The report put the format at 28.8% in 2017, reaching $820 million, a figure that tops the $740 million in sales generated by mass market paperback. The other format of note, is e-books; they fell 5.3% in the year, to $2.05 billion. Between 2013 and 2017 e-book sales fell 36.7%.
The report also found some interesting shifts in sales by channel in the trade market. Sales through online retailers jumped 6.4%, to $6.18 billion, and accounted for 38.8% of all trade sales. Sales through physical retailers fell 6.5%, to $3.88 billion, accounting for 24.3%. Sales made by intermediaries, mainly wholesalers, were $3.98 billion and accounted for 24.9% of sales.