Industry sales got off to a decent start in 2023, rising 3.5% in January over a year ago at the 1,240 companies that report results to AAP’s StatShot program.

Of the major categories, adult books had the largest gain, with a sales increase of 6.2% led by trade paperbacks, which had an 11.3% increase despite a 43.4% jump in returns. (AAP measures net sales by subtracting returns from gross sales.) Hardcover sales increased 6.5% in the month. Mass market sales continued to dwindle, falling 35.8%. Digital audio continued its solid run, with sales up 9.3% and e-book sales were up 6.3%.

Sales in the children’s/young adult category slipped 2.3% in January. Heavy returns were the major reason for the decline, soaring 58.8% in the segment. Hardcover returns were especially high, jumping 76.2%, leading to a 8.8% drop in the format. Paperback sales inched up 0.3%. Digital audio sales rose 8.2% over January 2022, but e-book sales fell 13.3%.

In the other categories, sales of religious books fell 1.8%. Sales rose in the remaining three categories: 1.2% in professional books, 4.1% in higher education, and 9.6% for university presses.