Driven by gains in the children’s/young adult and K–12 instructional materials segments, publishers’ sales hit $15.72 billion in 2014, up 4.9% over the previous year, according to the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program. The results are based on sales data from 1,209 companies. The increase was better than the 1% annual gain posted in 2013 by a similar sample size of 1,211 publishers.
The 20.8% increase in the children’s/YA segment was due to sales gains across all formats. E-book sales in the segment rose 33.6%, while board book sales jumped 33%. The segment benefitted from the blockbuster performance of the Divergent trilogy, whose strong digital showing drove the gains in e-book sales overall, which accounted for 12% of all sales in the children’s/YA segment in 2014, up from 10.9% in 2013. The 20.8% gain in the category marked a rebound from 2013, when children’s/YA sales fell 6.6% from the previous year, because nothing was comparable to the successful Hunger Games performance in 2012.
With no breakout hit in 2014, sales in the adult book segment fell 1.4% compared to 2013. The hardcover format had the toughest year, with sales down 8.2%; sales in the mass market paperback segment dropped 4.2%. Those declines offset small gains in trade paperback sales (up 2.3%) and e-books (up 1%). Downloadable audio sales jumped 27.2% in the year, offsetting a 7.7% decline in physical audio sales. The 1% increase in e-book sales last year followed a 3.8% increase in e-book sales in 2013 at publishers that report to StatShot, one more sign that the explosive annual sales gains of e-books has cooled. The format accounted for 27.2% of all adult book sales last year, up from 26.6% in 2013.
Combined e-book sales for the adult and children’s/YA groups rose 4.8% in 2014 and represented 22.9% of combined sales, up from 22.7% in 2013. The 2014 results are another indication that the sales performance of e-books, like that of print books, is based on the popularity of titles in a given year, not driven merely by the format.
Although the BookStats program that the AAP conducted with BISG has been discontinued, the AAP plans to release a more comprehensive report on 2014 sales later this year.
Industry Category Sales
|K-12 Instr. Materials||$2,883.1||$3,190.5||10.7%|
|Higher Ed. Materials||$4,303.5||$4,405.2||2.4%|
Adult Book Sales by Format
Children’s/YA Book Sales by Format