Sales of adult trade books fell 4.4% in April compared to April 2018, according to the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program.
The decline was due to a 16% drop in sales of hardcover titles, as well as the continuing erosion of sales on physical audiobooks. The latter dropped 20.5% in the month, compared to a year ago. Downloadable audio remained a bright spot, with sales up 28.8% over April 2018.
Despite the April decline, adult trade sales were up 0.5% over the first four months of 2018, led by sales of digital audio, which rose 33.7% in the period. The format accounted for 12.1% of all adult trade sales, up from 11.2% in the same period in 2018.
In the children/young adult category, April sales increased 6.7% led by a 13.9% increase in hardcover sales. For the first four months of 2019, sales in the segment were up 9.1% driven by gains in the hardcover and board book segments of 12.0% and 15.4%, respectively.
Sales for all 1,360 publishers who report their results to AAP, sales were down 1.6% for April, but rose 4.5% for the year to date. The religious press and K-12 instructional materials categories had the largest gains in the period, up 17.8% and 12.0%, respectively.