Sales of adult trade books rose 8.9% through the first nine months of 2020 over the comparable period in 2019, and sales in the children/young adult segment increased 7.7% for publishers that report sales to AAP’s StatShot program. For all 1,354 publishers that report their revenue to AAP, sales were down 1.8% in the nine-month period compared to 2019.
Downloadable audio was the fastest-growing format in the nine months in the adult books category, with sales up 16.3%. E-books sales rose 11.4%, and the two digital formats combined to account for 30% of adult book sales in the first nine months of the year, compared to 28.9% a year ago. Hardcover sales also did well in the period, up 14.4%. Trade paperback sales grew at a more modest 3.7% rate.
In the children/young adult segment, e-book sales soared nearly 70% over the first nine months of 2019, and downloadable audio sales jumped almost 36%. The digital formats together accounted for 8.8% of sales in the category in 2020, up from 6.1% in 2019. Board book sales rose 18.2% in the period, and both hardcover and paperback sales increased by just over 5%.
Among all publishing categories, K-12 instructional materials segment had the worst performance, with sales down 21.1% in the nine-month period. Sales of higher educational course materials slipped 0.5%. Sales of religious presses increased 0.5%, and professional book sales increased 1.4%.
September was a good month for the industry ,with total sales up 14.6%. All categories had sales increases in the month over September 2019.