Book sales fell 10.9% in July at the 1,233 publishers that supply data to AAP’s StatShot program. The July decline follows a 1.6% increase in the first half of 2023 over the comparable period in 2022, a gain largely driven by a double-digit sales increase in the higher educational course materials segment.
In July, higher education sales dropped 21.8%, and sales in both trade areas also declined. Sales of adult books fell 4.6%, while sales in the children’s/young adult category dropped 10.7%. Sales in the religion book category inched ahead 0.1%, while sales of university press titles increased 11.5%. Professional book sales dropped 2.8%.
In both the adult book and children’s/YA categories, declines of print books offset gains in digital sales in July. Sales of adult digital audiobooks rose 14.6% in the month, while e-book sales increased 1.1%. Audiobooks accounted for 15.4% of adult trade sales in July, and e-books accounted for 17.4%. Trade paperback sales fell 10.1% in the month, and hardcover sales fell 2.3%. July was another bad month for mass market paperback, with sales tumbling 31.9%; the format represented just 2.5% of adult book sales in the month.
E-book sales had the biggest gain in the children’s/YA segment, up 15.5% and accounting for 6.8% of category sales. Digital audiobook sales rose 5.7%. Paperback sales had the largest decline in the month, down 18.8%, while special binding sales declined 3.5%. Hardcover sales rose 3.4%.
Through July, total sales for the publishers that report to AAP fell 0.9%. Sales of adult books were up 0.8%, but fell 8.2% in the children’s/YA category. Sales of religious books rose 0.6%.