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  • “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.”  

  • Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues fall 6.4% in March, but up 2.0% Year-to-Date

    The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for March 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 March 2022 were down 4.2% as compared to March 2021, coming in at $804.4 million. Year-to-date revenues were up 1.1%, at $3.0 billion for the first three months of the year.

    Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

    Trade (Consumer Books) sales were down 6.4% in March, coming in at $702.5 million.

    In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of March, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 19.0%, coming in at $238.1 million; Paperbacks were up 8.6%, with $266.0 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 30.7% to $14.3 million; and Special Bindings were down 17.6%, with $12.7 million in revenue. Paper formats still account for 75.6% of all trade sales.

    eBook revenues were down 12.2% for the month as compared to March 2021 for a total of $76.9 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 8.4% for March, coming in at $63.5 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 20.1% coming in at $1.3 million.

    Year-to-date Trade revenues were up 2.0%, at $2.1 billion for the first three months of the year. Hardback revenues were down 3.0%, coming in at $740.6 million; Paperbacks were up 14.6%, with $763.5 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 20.1% to $49.4 million; and Special Bindings were down 3.1%, with $43.6 million in revenue.

    eBook revenues were down 9.8% as compared to the first three months of 2021 for a total of $249.3 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 2.7%, coming in at $194.5 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 23.4% coming in at $3.7 million.

    Religious Presses

    Religious press revenues were down 11.0% in March, coming in at $52.1 million. Hardback revenues were down 15.9% to $32.0 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 7.3% to $7.9 million, eBook revenues were down 6.0% coming in at $3.9 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were down 2.4% at $2.8 million.

    On a year-to-date basis, religious press revenues were down 4.0%, reaching $174.3 million. Hardback revenues were down 8.0% at $106.0 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 13.4% to $26.9 million, eBook revenues were down 9.4% at $11.8 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were down 10.6% at $9.9 million. 

    Education

    During March 2022 revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were $68.6 million, up 38.3% compared with March 2021. Year-to-date Higher Education Course Materials revenues were $737.4 million, unchanged (0.0%) compared to the first three 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 22.8% during the month, coming in at $25.2 million. Year-to-date Professional Books revenues were $86.8 million, down 8.4% as compared to the first three 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.

  • New Report from Independent Research Firm Student Monitor Finds Decade Long Decline of 44% in Student Spending in the Category

    Average student spending on college course materials, including textbooks and digital materials, declined 22% during the 2021-2022 academic year according to new data reported today by independent research firm Student Monitor.  The trend continues a decade long decline according to the research firm, with student spending on the category dropping a dramatic 44% between the 2011-12 and 2021-22 academic years.

    “Course materials are more affordable now than at any time in the past decade,” commented Eric Weil, Managing Partner, Student Monitor. “Student spending dropped 22% during the most recent year, coming in at an average of just $314, in large part because Students are tailoring their purchases to the requirements of their individual courses, and taking full advantage of some of the new affordable options."

    The $314 in average student spending on course materials during the 2021-2022 school year reflected an average $101 spend for new, printed textbooks; $69 for used, printed textbooks; $47 for rented, printed textbooks; and $97 for eTextbooks.

    Freedom of Choice: Providing Faculty and Students with Options

    “Higher education publishers have continued to focus on both quality and affordability, and the results have been remarkable,” commented Kelly Denson, Vice President, Education Policy and Programs, AAP. “Even as student spending on course materials has declined during the past decade -- dropping a substantial 44% -- publishers have dramatically expanded their offerings, providing high-quality content and courseware within delivery models like Inclusive Access, and print rental in addition to other formats like digital, loose leaf print, custom solutions, and individual learning apps. The result gives both faculty and students the freedom and flexibility to choose the materials that work best for them.”

    Methodologies

    Student Monitor conducts hour-long, one-on-one, on campus intercept interviews among 1,412 four-year, full-time undergraduates attending 94 representative colleges and universities.

    “Student Monitor’s findings reflect comprehensive, in-depth discussions held with students to find the actual costs associated with purchasing college course materials,” commented Student Monitor’s Weil. “Our findings consistently show a downward trend in student spending, illustrating the long-term trend of greater affordability in the course material environment.”

    https://vimeo.com/710533561

  • Raúl Figueroa Sarti, founder of F&G Editores, Guatemala, delivered a pre-taped speech accepting the 2021 Association of American Publishers International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award during AAP’s Annual General Meeting on Monday, May 9th.

    In introducing Mr. Figuero’s speech Terry Adams, Digital and Paperback Publisher, Little, Brown and Company, and Chair, AAP Freedom to Publish Committee commented that the annual award “honors a publisher outside the United States, who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in defending freedom of expression. It's no secret to any of us in this virtual room, the truth is under constant assault today and people who publish the truth are embattled and at risk around the world.

    “In conferring this award, the AAP is guided by the principle that if one of us is denied the right to publish that threat affects us all. The winner of this year's award is a publisher in Guatemala, a country where political turmoil in the late 20th century cost untold thousands of lives, and where the democratic institutions put in place in recent decades, continue to be fragile with human rights, including freedom of expression, constantly challenged.

    “Despite frequent threat from official sensors and silencers, the independent publishing company F&G Editores has managed to publish many significant new works of Central American literature, as well as government documents compiled purportedly for public consumption, but because they were considered embarrassing to certain people in power, the Guatemalan Government has actively sought to suppress. Through perseverance and despite harassment F&G Editores has grown to become one of Central America's pre-eminent publishing companies.”

    A video of Raúl Figueroa Sarti’s full speech can be seen here:

    About F&G Editores, Guatemala

    F&G Editores was founded in 1993 by Raúl Figueroa Sarti, who continues to run the house.

    Guatemala emerged 25 years ago from a 36-year armed conflict in which 200,000 individuals, mostly indigenous people, lost their lives, and more than 40,000 disappeared, whereabouts still unknown today. Since then, drug lords, gangs, corrupt politicians, and military officers have created an environment that is highly challenging. 

    Despite significant personal danger, Mr. Figueroa Sarti has chosen to build his publishing house in Guatemala, in the process serving as an activist for a humane civil society in a region torn by war and corruption. 

    As a result of his unrelenting activism while running F&G Editores Mr. Figueroa Sarti has received numerous personal threats over the years, some direct and others veiled. In 2009, he faced false charges as part of a campaign designed to paralyze his publishing operation. He initially received a one-year prison sentence, which was later suspended. He has subsequently been targeted by both the government and far right business groups who have launched a series of smear campaigns falsely alleging financial wrongdoing, among other allegations.

    Since its launch F&G Editores has earned an unquestionable reputation for excellence, publishing some the most important fiction and non-fiction in Central America.

    In 1997, F&G published an edition of the Guatemalan criminal procedure code that immediately became one of the best-selling books in the country, rolling through five editions in a single year. The debut of this volume marked the first time that court decisions and law changes were ever published in Guatemala. From the editorial perspective, the quality of paper, interior design, format, cover design, and binding of this compendium was considered unique in Guatemala.

    Over the course of its existence, F&G Editores has published more than 180 titles, including the works of Guatemala’s Miguel Ángel Asturias, 1967 Nobel Prize for Literature, and texts by other important Guatemalan writers, including a series entitled Miguel Ángel Asturias National Prize Collection for Literature that showcases texts by award-winning authors such as Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Marco Antonio Flores, David Unger, and Arturo Arias.

    F&G Editores has also published numerous non-fiction titles that have put Mr. Figueroa Sarti’s life in jeopardy in Guatemala, including:

    Lineage and Racism in Guatemala. Published in 2005, 14 years after its first edition in Costa Rica, this book exposed racism against the Mayan peoples.

    1. State Crime: The Parlacen Case. Published in 2011, this book brought to light the involvement of state security forces in the murder of Salvadoran deputies in Guatemalan territory, and later the murder in prison of the police officers accused of the crimes.
    2. Convicted of Genocide. In 2013 this book revealed that General Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide, a sentence that had been officially concealed by the courts.
    3. From the Barracks. Another Vision of Guatemala. Published in 2017, this book revealed the vision of a progressive military man in the Guatemalan army who denounced the links between the military leadership and the economic elite.
    4. Guatemala: Causes and Origins of the Internal Armed Conflict; Conclusions and Recommendations. Published in 2019, this book includes excerpts from the voluminous report prepared after the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords that ended the 36-year internal war which Guatemalan authorities had tried to conceal.
    5. The Back Courtyard: The Hour of the Comedian. Published in 2019, this book reveals the corrupt regime of former president Jimmy Morales and his links with the powerful economic elite that for decades sponsored war in Guatemala.
    6. Dissent and Discipline. Published in 2021, this non-fiction book exposed methods put into practice to “discipline” businessmen who demonstrated against corruption in Guatemala in 2015 and 2016.

    In 2021 F&G Editores planned to publish 12 books, seven of which are literature and five of which deal with social and political issues in Guatemala. 

    F&G Editores was also among the five publishers shortlisted for the International Publishers Association (IPA) 2021 IPA Prix Voltaire, an award that recognizes exemplary courage in upholding the freedom to publish and in providing a platform, through print or digital media, for others to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

    About the AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award:

    The International Freedom to Publish Award, which was established in 2002, recognizes a publisher outside the United States who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in defending freedom of expression. The Award, which includes a cash prize, is named in honor of Jeri Laber, a co-founder of Human Rights Watch and founding member of AAP’s Freedom to Publish Committee. In some instances, the honoree’s particular circumstances may prevent him or her from accepting the award or communicating in person.

    Previous recipients of the award include Bangladesh-based Jagriti Publishing House in 2020; South Africa–based NB Publishers in 2019; and in 2018 Azadeh Parsapour, a London-based publisher of censored Iranian authors.

    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 at @AmericanPublish.

  • Today before more than 1,200 members and guests of the Association of American Publishers Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee, received the AAP’s 2022 Award for Distinguished Public Service. The Award honors individuals who have made “outstanding contributions to the public good by advancing laws or policies that respect the value, creation and publication of original works of authorship.”

    “Throughout his tenure as Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee, Senator Tillis has been a steadfast supporter of the copyright framework that is foundational to an informed and inspired society,” commented Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO, Association of American Publishers. “He has elevated the discussion of copyright issues in important and meaningful ways because he understands that authors, artists, publishers, and producers are essential to the public interest and our modern global economy.”

    In accepting the award Senator Tillis said, “Thank you to the Association of American Publishers for this award. I am proud to be an adamant champion for strong, reliable, and predictable intellectual property rights, especially when it comes to copyright and the publishing industry. As Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee, I will continue to protect IP and fight copyright infringement as we work at home and abroad to protect your work.”

    Among his many acts of leadership, Senator Tillis has led a year-long series of hearings on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with an eye to demanding more accountability from websites that harbor infringing content. He introduced the SMART Copyright Act, a bill that would provide tools to better identify and prevent copyright infringement. He was instrumental in passing groundbreaking legislation to manage copyright small claims, and he championed and passed important legislation to modernize the penalties for unlawful streaming, a form of access that has become ubiquitous for all kinds of authorship, including music, film, videogames, and audiobooks.

    AAP’s Annual Meeting

    Senator Tillis accepted the award virtually during AAP’s yearly gathering of member companies and invited guests, which also featured leadership reports from Ms. Pallante and Chairman of the Board Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group; keynotes from historian and Pulitzer-prize winning author Anne Applebaum; actor, producer, and author Viola Davis; transformational policymaker and American Psychological Association CEO Dr. Arthur C. Evans; and Idina Menzel, singer and songwriter, and her sister Cara Mentzel, writer and teacher, who have authored a children’s book together. In addition, in video-taped remarks translated from Spanish, Raúl Figueroa Sarti accepted the International Freedom to Publish Award on behalf of Guatemalan publishing house F & G Editores for its courageous work in the face of government censorship and intimidation.

    About Senator Tillis

    Senator Tillis was first elected to represent North Carolina in 2014 and is currently serving in his second term after being re-elected in 2020. He is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and Judiciary Committee, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee. Before serving in the Senate, he was Speaker of the House in the North Carolina General Assembly where he played an instrumental role in enacting job-creating policies, reforming North Carolina’s tax and regulatory codes, and incentivizing clean energy and the protection of national parks.

    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.