Publishing industry sales were flat in May, showing a marked improvement from April, when sales fell 7.6% at the 1,238 publishers that report to AAP's StatShot program. The sales performance was helped by a 15.3% decline in returns compared to May 2022.
A 4.6% dip in returns, however, could not stop sales in the children's/YA segment from dropping 14.1%, leading the month's declines. Hardcover sales in the segment were down 12.2%, paperback sales dropped 14.2%, and special bindings—including board books—plummeted 21.5%. During the year's first quarter, sales were up 3.2% in the category over last year during the comparable period.
Adult book sales were up 5.7% in May, thanks both to a 17.1% drop in returns and an 11.8% increase in hardcover sales. Sales of mass market books continued to drop, this time 42.5% from last year's comparable period, while digital audio continued to rise, seeing a 16.9% bump in the month.
Sales of religious titles and professional books dropped 7.8% and 8.4%, respectively. Sales of higher education course materials rose 11.3%, and sales of university press titles increased 7.4%.