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  • The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today that Matthew Stratton has joined the organization’s senior executive team as Deputy General Counsel.  Mr. Stratton is based in Washington, DC, and reports to General Counsel Terrence Hart.

    “Matt brings to the table more than a decade of experience on the front lines of the industry, including extensive work on global transactions, copyright policy, litigation, and regulatory matters,” said Maria A. Pallante.  “He will be a thoughtful advisor to our members at a time when the world needs scholarship, creativity, and innovation more than ever.”

    “I am delighted to be joining the talented and passionate team at AAP,” commented Mr. Stratton, “What a privilege to advocate for policies and initiatives that facilitate the creation, distribution, and protection of vital literary, scholarly, and professional works.” 

    Most recently, Mr. Stratton was Associate General Counsel at Elsevier Inc., where he supported business enterprises throughout the world, including in New York, London, Amsterdam, Paris, and parts of Asia.  His portfolio included commercial litigation, copyright policy, anti-piracy strategies, internal compliance projects, programs, and investigations.  He joined the company in 2011, and prior to that worked as a litigation associate in private practice.  

    He is a graduate of Fordham Law School and Columbia University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa.

  • Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues fall 3.3% in May, and 1.4% Year-to-Date

    The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released its StatShot report for May 2022 reflecting reported revenue for Trade (Consumer Books), Higher Education Course Materials, and Professional Publishing. The report does not include Pre-K revenue due to delays in data collection but will be updated as soon as that data becomes available.

    Total revenues across all categories, excluding PreK-12, for May 2022 were down 3.7% as compared to May 2021, coming in at $837.8 million. Year-to-date revenues were down 2.5%, at $4.6 billion for the first five months of the year.

    Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

    Trade (Consumer Books) sales were down 3.3% in May, coming in at $673.1 million.

    In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of May, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 10.7%, coming in at $227.8 million; Paperbacks were up 5.6%, with $249.8 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 46.6% to $10.3 million; while Special Bindings were up 42.9%, with $12.7 million in revenue.

    eBook revenues were down 5.7% for the month as compared to May 2021 for a total of $82.5 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 6.2% for May, coming in at $65.2 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 46.4% coming in at $1.2 million.

    Year-to-date Trade revenues were down 1.4%, at $3.5 billion for the first five months of the year. Hardback revenues were down 7.5%, coming in at $1.2 billion; Paperbacks were up 8.7%, with $1.3 billion in revenue; Mass Market was down 25.6% to $73.9 million; and Special Bindings were up 4.0%, with $68.8 million in revenue.

    eBook revenues were down 9.1% as compared to the first five months of 2021 for a total of $420.9 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 4.0%, coming in at $326.3 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 35.0% coming in at $6.1 million.

    Religious Presses

    Religious press revenues were up 10.0% in May, coming in at $62.5 million. Hardback revenues were up 8.9% to $37.6 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 16.7% to $8.1 million, eBook revenues were down 10.7% coming in at $4.7 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 38.1% at $4.4 million.

    On a year-to-date basis, religious press revenues were down 3.6%, reaching $303.8 million. Hardback revenues were down 6.1% at $176.1 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 4.7% to $46.7 million, eBook revenues were down 14.8% at $26.6 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 0.9% at $17.5 million. 

    Education

    During May 2022 revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were $119.4 million, down 9.2% compared with May 2021. Year-to-date Higher Education Course Materials revenues were $916.9 million, down 6.0% compared to the first five months of 2021.

    The performance of the Education categories during this month may reflect multiple factors, including rebounding business post-COVID.

    Professional Books

    Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were up 9.4% during the month, coming in at $36.6 million. Year-to-date Professional Books revenues were $161.0 million, down 5.2% as compared to the first five months of 2021.

    AAP’s StatShot

    AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from U.S. sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, and other channels. StatShot draws revenue data from approximately 1,366 publishers, although participation may fluctuate slightly from report to report. 

    StatShot reports are designed to give ongoing revenue snapshots across publishing sectors using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on both a month-to-month and year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

    Monthly and yearly StatShot reports may not align completely across reporting periods, because: a) The pool of StatShot participants may fluctuate from report to report; and b) Like any business, it is common accounting practice for publishing houses to update and restate their previously reported revenue data. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports first indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports to AAP, permitting AAP in turn to report information that is more accurate than previously reported.

  • Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues fall 8.9% in April, and 1.0% Year-to-Date

    The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for April 2022 reflecting reported revenue for Trade (Consumer Books), Higher Education Course Materials, and Professional Publishing. The report does not include Pre-K revenue due to delays in data collection but will be updated as soon as that data becomes available.

    Total revenues across all categories, excluding PreK-12, for April 2022 were down 12.6% as compared to April 2021, coming in at $788.3 million. Year-to-date revenues were down 2.3%, at $3.8 billion for the first four months of the year.

    Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

    Trade (Consumer Books) sales were down 8.9% in April, coming in at $685.7 million.

    In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of April, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 16.8%, coming in at $232.4 million; Paperbacks were down 2.8%, with $251.9 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 22.0% to $14.1 million; while Special Bindings were up 2.1%, with $12.5 million in revenue.

    eBook revenues were down 8.3% for the month as compared to April 2021 for a total of $84.3 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 5.6% for April, coming in at $66.6 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 47.9% coming in at $1.2 million.

    Year-to-date Trade revenues were down 1.0%, at $2.8 billion for the first four months of the year. Hardback revenues were down 6.8%, coming in at $974.0 million; Paperbacks were up 9.6%, with $1.0 billion in revenue; Mass Market was down 20.5% to $63.6 million; and Special Bindings were down 2.0%, with $56.1 million in revenue.

    eBook revenues were down 9.7% as compared to the first four months of 2021 for a total of $338.1 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 3.4%, coming in at $261.1 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 31.5% coming in at $4.9 million.

    Religious Presses

    Religious press revenues were down 13.1% in April, coming in at $48.6 million. Hardback revenues were down 15.4% to $26.4 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were down 13.1% to $7.0 million, eBook revenues were down 12.6% coming in at $5.2 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 4.2% at $3.2 million.

    On a year-to-date basis, religious press revenues were down 6.9%, reaching $235.6 million. Hardback revenues were down 10.0% at $133.5 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 4.2% to $38.7 million, eBook revenues were down 13.3% at $21.7 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were down 7.4% at $13.1 million. 

    Education

    During April 2022 revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were $59.9 million, down 43.2% compared with April 2021. Year-to-date Higher Education Course Materials revenues were $797.4 million, down 5.5% compared to the first four months of 2021.

    The performance of the Education categories during this month may reflect multiple factors, including rebounding business post-COVID.

    Professional Books

    Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were down 2.4% during the month, coming in at $34.2 million. Year-to-date Professional Books revenues were $124.6 million, down 8.6% as compared to the first four months of 2021.

    AAP’s StatShot

    AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from U.S. sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, and other channels. StatShot draws revenue data from approximately 1,366 publishers, although participation may fluctuate slightly from report to report. 

    StatShot reports are designed to give ongoing revenue snapshots across publishing sectors using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on both a month-to-month and year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

    Monthly and yearly StatShot reports may not align completely across reporting periods, because: a) The pool of StatShot participants may fluctuate from report to report; and b) Like any business, it is common accounting practice for publishing houses to update and restate their previously reported revenue data. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports first indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports to AAP, permitting AAP in turn to report information that is more accurate than previously reported.

  • Today, member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a motion for summary judgment in the copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (“IA”), first filed on June 1, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

     Following two years of litigation, the motion for summary judgement establishes a clear record showing that both the law and the facts of the case are undisputedly in the publishers’ favor.  

    The filings show that IA’s illegal mass scanning, public display, and distribution of literary works are in direct contravention of the Copyright Act and in direct competition with lawfully licensed markets for both library and consumer eBooks.  IA offers its unauthorized copies to the public at large through a global-facing enterprise coined “Open Library” and, previously, through a service dubbed the “National Emergency Library.”  The defendant’s activities are part of a larger commercial enterprise that not only provides access to books but also adds to its bottom line.  Between 2011 and 2020, IA made approximately $30 million from libraries for scanning books in their collections. 

    The plaintiffs -- Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Wiley -- brought the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their authors after the Internet Archive refused to halt its infringement of tens of thousands of their books.    

    “Outrageously, IA has wrapped its large-scale infringement enterprise in a cloak of public service, but that posture is an affront to the most basic principles of copyright law,” commented Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO, Association of American Publishers. “We hope and expect that the court will uphold established legal precedent, including by recognizing that formats are neither fungible nor free for the taking, but rather a key means by which authors and publishers exercise their copyright interests, develop new markets, and contribute to public progress.”

    Authors Speak Out

    In an accompanying declaration filed with the court, the award-winning poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist Sandra Cisneros, described her reaction, as follows:

    “When I went on the Internet Archive’s website and saw that scans of my books were being distributed to anybody who wanted them for free – without my permission or any payment – I was appalled.  I found the experience so viscerally upsetting that I could not stay on the website for long.  It was like I had gone to a pawn shop and seen my stolen possessions on sale.

    “The libraries that raised me paid for their books, they never stole them.  Any libraries that want to provide eBook versions of my books to the public for free can do so because I have authorized Penguin Random House to license my work to any library that is willing to pay for the authorized digital formats.  I consider Internet Archive’s distribution of my books to be a terrible violation of the control I have worked so hard to establish over my work.”

    The suit names 127 literary works that include a stunning cross section of fiction, and non- fiction, books by such authors as Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ann Patchett. The named works are a mere sample of more than 33,000 titles on Internet Archive’s site that belong to the four plaintiff publishers and their authors, and a mere sprinkling of the millions more that IA distributes with the abandonment of a pirate site.  

    As the Authors Guild noted in March 2020, “Despite giving off the impression that it is expanding access to older and public domain books, a large proportion of the books on Open Library are in fact recent in-copyright books that publishers and authors rely on for critical revenue. Acting as a piracy site—of which there already are too many—the Internet Archive tramples on authors’ rights by giving away their books to the world.”

    IA’s Infringing Activity Has Only Increased Since Suit Was Filed

    At the time that the suit was filed, IA had brazenly reproduced, and was offering for download, some 1.3 million bootleg scans of print books.

    Since the suit was filed IA has dramatically accelerated the pace of its infringing activity, adding many thousands of scans from the publishers who brought the complaint against them, as well as titles belonging to other publishers. Today, IA makes more than 3 million in-copyright eBooks available for public consumption. 

     IA Encourages Libraries to Infringe

    Like booksellers, public libraries play a vital role in strengthening local communities and fostering public literacy.  For these reasons, most publishers make the vast majority of their authors’ adult trade books robustly available to libraries in print, audiobooks, and eBook formats immediately upon publication, even while they simultaneously seek to recoup their investments in tightly competitive consumer markets.  To illustrate, Overdrive, the largest of the licensed digital reading platform for libraries and schools, reported that in 2021 “libraries achieved all-time records for circulation, while lowering the average cost-per-title borrowed,” with over “120 libraries reaching one million digital checkouts.”

    Against this backdrop, IA encourages many of these same libraries to abandon eBook licenses in favor of theft.  According to IA, joining its ranks as a Partner library “ensures that a library will not have to repurchase the same content repeatedly simply because of a change in format” or simply “You Don’t Have to Buy it Again!”

    IA Attempts to Rewrite the Copyright Act, Unilaterally

    In an attempt to rationalize its ongoing unlawful acts, IA and its advocates have concocted a baseless, one-sided “theory” dubbed “controlled digital lending.” Among other flaws, the theory flatly ignores the copyright interests of authors and publishers, subverts the authority of Congress, and contravenes appellate jurisprudence. 

    Contrary to IA’s assertions, the Copyright Act provides no colorable defense for willfully copying a massive number of in-copyright books, turning them into bootleg eBooks, and then making them freely available to the global public.  In fact, IA sabotages the separate markets and business models made possible by the statute’s incentives and protections, robbing authors and publishers of their ability to control the manner and timing of communicating their works to the public. IA not only conflates print books and eBooks, it ignores the well-established channels in which publishers do business with bookstores, e-commerce platforms, and libraries for eBook lending. As detailed in the publishers’ June, 2020 complaint, IA makes no investment in creating the literary works it distributes and appears to give no thought to the impact of its efforts on the quality and vitality of the authorship that fuels the marketplace of ideas.

    Read the Brief here and Author Declaration here.

    # # #

    About AAP

    AAP | The Association of American Publishers represents the leading book, journal, and education publishers in the United States on matters of law and policy, advocating for outcomes that incentivize the publication of creative expression, professional content, and learning solutions. As essential participants in local markets and the global economy, our members invest in and inspire the exchange of ideas, transforming the world we live in one word at a time. Find us online at publishers.org or on Twitter and Instagram at @AmericanPublish.

  • “Today the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued an unequivocal, final ruling in the case of Association of American Publishers v. Brian Frosh in AAP’s favor.  In so ruling, the Court reiterated that the Maryland Act is unconstitutional because it “conflicts with and is preempted by the Copyright Act” and “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purpose and objectives of Congress.” 

    “We thank Judge Deborah L. Boardman for delivering a clear decision that protects the exclusive rights that are the basis of the United States Copyright Act and the means by which authors and publishers make so many intellectual and economic contributions to society and the long-term public interest.  The ruling underscores the fundamental legal tenet that was never in doubt to those who respect and rely upon our copyright system, and which Judge Boardman stated succinctly in her February analysis: it ‘is only through the protection of copyright that books and other creative works may be generated and distributed at all.’

    “As AAP’s lawsuit explained in great detail, Maryland enacted a shadow copyright law that would have forced authors and publishers to transmit literary works to public libraries within its borders according to regulated terms imposed by the state.  The encroachment was astonishing for its direct conflict with two centuries of federal law and its upheaval of an Internet economy in which authors, artists, publishers, and producers from around the world make their intellectual property available to consumers through a plethora of innovative formats and access models that also include more than a half a billion digital loans for library patrons in the United States alone.  Every day, thanks to the protections and reciprocity afforded by international treaties, such transactions are carried out seamlessly and rapidly across borders and permit the incredible innovation of home browsing.

    “Today’s decisive ruling, combined with Governor Kathy Hochul’s December, 2021 veto of a nearly identical bill in New York on constitutional grounds, sends a two-fold message to other legislatures being similarly lobbied: there is nothing judicious about undermining authors or the viability of an independent publishing industry.”

    Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild also had this to say:

    "We congratulate the AAP on its victory against Maryland’s misguided mandatory ebook and audiobook licensing law, which was a wholly unwarranted rebuke of authors’ exclusive rights under the Constitution and federal copyright law to decide the terms on which they allow others to use their works. What’s more, this unconstitutional encroachment was not premised on any demonstrable need, as the vast majority of publishers large and small already license their ebooks and audiobooks to libraries, and authors want their books to be in libraries. The Authors Guild has long been a champion of increasing funding to libraries so they can purchase more digital licenses they need to serve their patrons and communities – a far better method of ensuring libraries can acquire robust collections than controlling ebook and audiobook prices. Price regulation is a form of regulation that is very rarely applied in this country and for good reason; in this case it would undermine the value of literary works and the ecosystem that ensures that authors and publishers can keep publishing great books.”