With one month of sales data still to come, the publishing industry finds itself in a familiar spot—sales in the first 11 months of 2018 were just about flat with the same period a year ago.
According to the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program, sales from 1,374 reporting publishers were up 0.3% through November over the comparable period in 2017.
The religious press segment had the largest gain, with sales up 5.9%. Religion was trailed by adult trade books, where sales rose 5.1%. The adult trade category had a solid November, with sales up almost 20%; the segment was led by hardcovers, which saw a sales jump of 36.3%. The strong hardcover showing, no doubt, reflects the strong November sales for Michelle Obama's Becoming.
For the first 11 months of last year hardcover sales increased 6.5%, over 2017, in the adult book category. For the year-to-date, downloadable audio sales of adult books were up 37.1%. E-book sales have done better than in recent years, though sales were down 2.8% in the 11 months of 2018.
Sales in the children’s/young adult category increased 3.7% in the January to November period in 2018 over 2017. Board books had the biggest gain, up 4.2% in the first 11 months of 2018. Sales of paperbacks rose 3.5%.