Preliminary estimates from the Association of American Publishers' monthly sales report show a 7.9% increase in industry sales in 1998 compared to 1997. Revenues were up in all but the mail order segment, with the biggest improvement occurring in the children's paperback category, in which sales jumped more than 20% last year. The adult trade paperback category also did well in the year, posting a 10.8% gain.

The elhi segment, which had a 13% sales increase in 1997, had the second highest gain last year, with sales up 12.3%. The college segment also posted its second straight impressive year, with sales up 8.8%. All figures are estimates.

Reports that December was a strong month for trade publishers were borne out by the AAP figures, which show double-digit gains in both the adult and children categories. The hardcover segments did particularly well in December, with adult hardcover sales up 40% in the month and children's hardcover sales increasing an estimated 53.5%. Among the trade categories, only the mass market paperback segment had a weak December, with sales up by less than 1%, although the category still managed a 7% increase for the year.