Through the first nine months of 2019, sales of adult trade books were up 1.1% over the comparable period in 2018 for the publishers who report sales to AAP’s BookStat program. Sales in the children/young adult segment rose 8.0% in the same period.
The gain in adult sales was led by the 25.9% increase in sales of downloadable audiobooks. The format accounted for 10.0% of adult trade sales in the first nine months of 2019, up from 8.2% in the first nine months of 2018. Print sales were basically flat in the period, with hardcover sales up only 0.1% and trade paperback sales ahead 0.3%. Sales of mass market paperbacks were down 14.9% and accounted for 5.1% of adult book sales, down from 6.1% in the first nine months of 2018. E-book sales dropped 3.4%.
The increase in nine-month sales in the children/young adult category was led by a 11.7% rise in paperback sales. Sales of board books and hardcovers rose 6.0% and 3.8%, respectively. E-book sales fell 6.7%.
For all 1,362 publishers who report to AAP, sales through September increased 4.0%. The K-12 instructional materials segment continued to have a solid year, with sales up 26.2% in the year-to-date. Sales in the religious press category increased 4.3% over the comparable period in 2018.
The higher educational course materials category continued to struggle with sales down 11.2% in the nine-month period. Sales in the professional books segment fell 2.8% and were down 2.7% for university presses.