Sales of religion books jumped 38.2% in April at publishers that report their financial results to AAP’s StatShot program. The increase was the largest gain among all publishing categories and continued the strong sales performance the category has had in 2024. For the first quarter of the year, religion book sales were up 5.2%.  

The big driver in April was the category’s most important format, hardcover, where new sales soared 41.5%, helped by a big decline in returns (AAP calculates net sales by subtracting returns from gross sales). Paperback sales also did well, up 38.5%.

Sales of digital audiobook sales had a big month, up 33%, while e-book sales inched ahead 1%. For reporting publishers, digital audio sales topped e-book sales in April. And despite the strong April performance for digital audio, the format’s share of religion book sales still represents only less than 1% of category sales.

The strong April performance lifted up sales of religion books by nearly 12% in the first four months of 2024 over 2023, easily ahead of the 4.2% increase for total book sales of the 1,277 publishers who supplied data in the period.