With all segments posting increases in the first six months of 2021, sales for the 1,358 publishers that report their revenue to the AAP StatShot program increased 18.1% over the comparable period in 2020.
The largest gain came in the K-12 instructional materials segment, which had a difficult first six months of 2020, when schools were closed due to the pandemic. For the first half of last year, sales in the K-12 segment fell 30.3% from 2019 levels. Sales for all publishers were down 4.2% in the first six months of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019.
In the January-June period in the first half of 2021, K-12 sales rose 35.2%. The other educational category, higher educational course materials, had a 15.1% increase in the six month period.
The two trade segments, which had small increases in the first half of 2020, posted double-digit increases in the first six months of 2021, with adult book sales rising 18.9% and children’s/young adult sales increasing 14.6%. Sales of religious books increased 10.7%
The professional book segment had the smallest increase, with sales up 5.8% in the first half of 2021. Sales of university presses rose 21.2%.
The increase in the first six months of 2021 came despite flat sales in June. Only the educational publishing segments had gains in June. Sales of adult books fell 9.5% in the month compared to June 2020, and sales in children’s/young adult declined 4.1%.
In the adult segment for the first six months of the year, all formats except e-books rose over 2020, with e-book sales slipping 0.6%. Hardcover sales did the best among all formats, rising 31.6%, while trade paperback sales increased 19.9%. Mass market sales increased 8.1%.
Downloadable audio sales had another strong performance, with sales up 19%. The format represented 12.4% of adult sales in the first six months of 2021, up slightly from 12.1% last year. E-books accounted for 17% of sales down from 20.4% in 2020, according to AAP.
In the children/YA category, all formats had double-digit increases with the exception of physical audio. Hardcovers had the largest increase, with sales up 20.2%.