The publishing industry had a small sales increase in January 2020 compared to the first month of 2019, according to figures released by the Association of American Publishers as part of its StatShot program. The industry’ results, however, will certainly take a downward turn when March results are released later this year and the impact of the new coronavirus begins to be reflected in the results.
Sales from the 1,361 publishers who reported data to AAP were up 3.7% over 2019. In the trade segments, sales of adult books rose 0.6% over January 2019, while sales in the children/young adult category rose 7.3% from reporting publishers.
In adult trade, mass market paperback sales fell 20.5% in the month,a and sales of hardcovers were down 4.4%. Downloadable audio sales increased 14.3%, a solid gain but at a somewhat slower pace than the format has enjoyed in recent years. Downloadable audio accounted for 12% of adult sales in January 2020 compared to 11% in January 2019. Trade paperback sales rose 8.1%.
The AAP added audio to the children/YA category for the first time in 2020. Sales of the format increased 16.4% in January over 2019, accounting for 2.5% of category sales. Board books had the largest increase in the month, up 12.3%.
All publisher segments had sales increases in January, led by university presses, where sales were up 18.4%, and the religious category, which had a 13.9% increase.