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  • The Association of American Publishers (AAP) offers its congratulations to the 2020 winners of the National Book Awards and their publishers. We also congratulate novelist Walter Mosley for receiving the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and the family and colleagues of the late Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, 2008-2020, who received the Literarian Award.  Thank you, all, for your outstanding service to the American literary community. And thank you to the National Book Awards and National Book Foundation for celebrating extraordinary talent for more than 70 years.

  • On behalf of its Board of Directors and membership, and together with Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publishing, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today that the publishers declined to file another appeal in Cambridge University Press v. Becker, thus bringing the long-running copyright infringement case to an end.  We made this difficult decision after carefully considering well-established copyright precedent, including two authoritative decisions in this litigation from the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which reversed and vacated two prior decisions from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.   

    Following is a joint statement from Maria A. Pallante, AAP President and Chief Executive Officer, and Tracey Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer of CCC:

    “After careful consideration, the plaintiffs, AAP, and CCC have decided to conclude, rather than appeal, the GSU “e-reserves” case, following 12 years of litigation regarding both the exclusive rights accorded to copyright owners under U.S. copyright law, and, relatedly, the appropriate limits of fair use in instances where licenses are available.  We are pleased and satisfied that the Court of Appeals has issued two forceful rulings in the case, making clear that the kind of “nontransformative copying” undertaken by GSU poses a “severe threat of market harm” to publishers, and that such harm should be given “more significant weight in [the] overall fair use analysis” and “strongly disfavors” fair use where publishers have offered digital licenses for the material.  The fact that such copying occurs in an educational setting does not ameliorate the “threat of market substitution,” the Court of Appeals held.

    "The overarching objective of this litigation—to establish that institutions of higher learning cannot ignore copyright law by digitally copying and distributing significant excerpts from copyrighted course readings without a license, no matter how convenient—has been achieved.  Despite the lower court’s latest decision, which is at odds with the Court of Appeals’ instructions, publishers are confident that the guidance from the Court of Appeals is clear and authoritative as to future actors, and that universities will maintain copyright policies and practices that are consistent with its rulings and well-established copyright jurisprudence.   

    "As we conclude this case, we note that these are extraordinary times marked by unprecedented challenges and opportunities, including for universities, and we are therefore more committed than ever to helping students, scholars, libraries, and the reading public to achieve learning and research success.  Consistent with the fundamental mission of publishing, we will continue to make high-quality works of authorship and research widely available, and further serve our customers and the long-term public interest by investing in affordable and sustainable business models.”

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  • Distance Learning Results in Rise in Consumption of eTextbooks

    Average student spending on college textbooks and course materials continued to decline during the fall semester of 2020, dropping 7% compared to the same term last year, according to a special preview of the latest data from independent research firm Student Monitor.  A high-level version of Student Monitor’s Fall 2020 report is due out in November, followed by the full report in December. 

    “We are pleased to once again partner with Student Monitor to offer a sneak peek of its Fall 2020 report, which reaffirms the incredible array of options that students and college administrators have today to access course materials and improve learning outcomes,” said Kelly L. Denson, Vice President of Education Policy and Programs at the Association of American Publishers. “The consistent decline in student spending on textbooks and other learning materials is a clear illustration of education publishers’ longstanding commitment to affordability initiatives that put students and educators first.”

    According to Student Monitor, average student spending on course materials was $186 for the Fall 2020 semester, a decline of 7% when compared to the Fall 2019 spend of $199. The decline was primarily the result of a shift in spending from print textbooks to lower-cost eTextbooks.  At the same time the number of units purchased or rented increased by 3%, including a 23% increase in spending on eTextbooks.

    “During the fall semester of 2020, distance learning drove widespread adoption of less expensive eTextbooks in both sales and rentals – including through subscription models – leading to a 7% decline in spending as compared to the same period last year,” commented Eric Weil, Managing Partner, Student Monitor.  “At the same time, the volume of sales increased by 3%, which means that students are buying more course materials than last year, but they’re purchasing less expensive digital alternatives.”

    Decline in Student Spending is Multi-Year Trend According to College Board, Student Watch and Student Monitor

    Student Monitor’s Fall 2020 findings reflect a multi-year trend of declining student spending on course materials.  The annual decline was most recently reflected in the College Board’s October release of Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2020, which brought important clarity to the amount students actually spend on course materials, finding an average of $410 per year.  The annual figure also closely mirrors annual data from both Student Monitor, and the National Association of College Stores’ research arm, Student Watch. 

    Choice

    During the Fall 2020 semester, Student Monitor found that spending on course materials was distributed over a wide range of options.  Out of the $186 of average student spending during the semester the organization found that an average of $84 was spent on new, print textbooks; $38 on used, print textbooks; $26 on rented, print textbooks; $26 on eTextbooks with unlimited use; and $12 on eTextbooks with limited-time use.  With the exception of eTextbooks each of these categories saw a decline in average spending compared to the 2019 fall term.

    “As a result of the pandemic we saw a notable increase in the consumption of eTextbooks,” Weil added. “But even during the pandemic students are taking full advantage of the wide array of options that are available including a growing use of subscription models.  Nobody buys 100% new; nobody buys 100% used; nobody rents 100%.”

    Options

    The ongoing decline in spending on course materials reflects the fact that students are taking full advantage of the new, cost-effective options that publishers have made available, including initiatives such as Inclusive Access, which provides students with course materials on the first day of class at a reduced cost.  Other options like subscription models provide unlimited access to a range of textbooks, open course materials, online homework access codes and study guides, all for one price. 

    Student Monitor Methodology 

    The Student Monitor findings are the result of hour-long, one-on-one, on campus intercept interviews conducted among 1,200 four-year, full time undergraduates attending 100 representative colleges and universities.  Unlike previous years, due to the COVID-19 epidemic many of the Fall 2020 interviews were conducted remotely.

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    About 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 https://publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.

  • Trade (Consumer Book) Sales Up 20.9% in September; 7.8% Year To Date

    The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for September 2020 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.

    Total revenues across all categories for September 2020 were up 14.6% as compared to September 2019, coming in at $1.8 billion. Year-to-date sales were down 1.8% as compared to the first nine months of 2019, with a total of $11.2 billion.

    Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

    Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 20.9% year-over-year, coming in at $939.9 million. Year-to-date (January-September 2020) Trade sales were up 7.8% as compared to the same period last year, coming in at $5.9 billion.

    In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of September, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 24.8%, coming in at $419.8 million; Paperbacks were up 21.6%, with $272.4 million in revenue; Mass Market was up 88.1% to $20.8 million; and Board Books were up 35.2%, with $23.5 million in revenue.

    On a year-to-date basis, Hardback revenues were $2.1 billion, up 9.3%; Paperbacks were $1.9 billion, up 3.9%; Mass Market was $167.9 million, a decline of 0.6%; and Board Books were $127.9 million, up 18.2% as compared to the first nine months of 2019.

    eBook and Downloaded Audio revenues continued to grow in September, as well as on a year-to-date basis:

    eBook revenues were up 22.1% for the month as compared to September of 2019 for a total of $101.5 million. On a year-to-date basis, eBooks were up 15.8%, coming in at $855.8 million for the first nine months of 2020. Notably, eBook revenues in the Children’s and YA category saw a 110.8% jump during the month, coming in at $15.9 million. On a year-to-date basis, eBook revenues in the Children’s and YA category were up 69.7% for the first nine months of the year, coming in at $96.8 million.

    The Downloaded Audio format continues the long-standing trend of seeing continuous growth every month since 2012.  Downloaded Audio revenues saw a 15.0% increase as compared to September of last year, reaching nearly $60 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, Downloaded Audio was up 17.6% as compared to the same period in 2019, with a total of $496.7 million for the year so far. 

    Religious Presses

    Religious press revenues were up 5.1% in September, coming in at $62.5 million. The category was basically flat on a year-to-date basis with an increase of 0.5%, and revenues of $477.5 million for the first nine months of the year.

    Education

    During September 2020 Education revenues were $827.2 million, up 8.5% compared with September of 2019. Year-to-date Education revenues were down 10.6% as compared to the first nine months of 2019, coming in at $5.3 billion.

    Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were up 3.1% for the month, as compared to September of 2019, coming in at $460.6 million. On a year-to-date basis, Higher Education revenues were down 0.5% to $2.5 billion.

    PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were up 14.9% for September 2020, at $307.0 million. PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were down 21.4% at $2.3 billion on a year-to-date basis.

    Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, increased 23.2% during the month, coming in at $54.1 million. The category was up 1.4% for the first nine months of the year, with $457.9 million in revenue.

    University Presses were up 20.4% as compared to September of 2019, bringing in $5.4 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, University Presses rose 1.7%, bringing in $37.2 million for the first nine months of 2020.

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    AAP’s StatShot

    Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.

    StatShot reports are designed to give an up-to-date snapshot of the publishing industry 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 a year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

    It is not, however, possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to StatShot reports issued in previous years because: a) The number of StatShot participants fluctuates over time, with the pool of participants growing or shrinking in each report and b) It is a common accounting practices for businesses, including publishers, to restate revenue numbers based on updated information. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports, providing information that is more up-to-date and accurate.

  • Trade (Consumer Book) Sales Up Nearly 7% in August

    The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for August 2020 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (consumer publications), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.

    Total revenues across all categories for August 2020 were essentially flat at $1.9 billion, an increase of 0.3% as compared to August 2019. Year-to-date sales were $9.4 billion, a decline of 4.6% as compared to the same period last year.

    Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues

    Trade (Consumer Books) sales were notably up 6.9% year-over-year, coming in at $703.6 million. Year-to-date (January-August 2020) Trade sales were $5.0 billion, an increase of 5.2%, as compared to the first eight months of 2019.

    In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of August, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 11.8%, coming in at $259.2 million; Paperbacks were down 1.1%, with $219.7 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 33.7% to $14.7 million; and Board Books were down 22.6%, with $14.5 million in revenue.

    On a year-to-date basis, Hardback revenues were $1.7 billion, up 6.0%; Paperbacks were $1.6 billion, up 1.0%; Mass Market was $147.1 million, a decline of 6.9%; and Board Books were $101.3 million, up 6.7% as compared to the first eight months of 2019.

    eBook and Downloaded Audio revenues continued to be strong in August, as well as on a year-to-date basis:

    eBook revenues were up 18.2% for the month as compared to August of 2019 for a total of $101.7 million. On a year-to-date basis, eBooks were up 14.8%, coming in at $754.8 million for the first eight months of 2020. Notably, eBook revenues in the Children’s and YA category saw a 59.4% jump during the month, coming in at $10.3 million. On a year-to-date basis, eBook revenues in the Children’s and YA category were up 63.2% for the first eight months of the year, coming in at $83.6 million.

    The Downloaded Audio format continues the long-standing trend of seeing continuous growth every month since 2012.  Downloaded Audio revenues saw a 32.9% increase as compared to August of last year, reaching $57.9 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, Downloaded Audio was up 17.7% as compared to the same period in 2019, with a total of $432.6 million for the year so far. 

    Year-to-date Downloaded Audio revenue comprises 8.7% of reported Trade (Consumer Books) revenue.

    Religious Presses

    Religious press revenues were flat year-over-year in August, coming in at $56.1 million, a decline of 0.5% as compared to August 2020. The category was also flat on a year-to-date basis with a decline of 0.2%, and revenues of $415.0 million for the first eight months of the year.

    Education

    During August 2020 Education revenues were $1.2 billion, down 3.2% compared with August of 2019. Year-to-date Education revenues were down 14.8% as compared to the first eight months of 2019, coming in at $4.0 billion.

    Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were down 7.8% for the month, as compared to August of 2019, coming in at $640.0 million. On a year-to-date basis, Higher Education revenues were down 1.5% to $2.0 billion.

    PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were down 13.9% for August 2020, at $521.6 million. PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were $2.0 billion on a year-to-date basis, a drop of 25.0% compared to the first eight months of last year.

    Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, decreased 2.1% during the month, coming in at $66.4 million. The category was down 0.9% for the first eight months of the year, with $403.5 million in revenue.

    University Presses were down 0.7% as compared to August of 2019, bringing in $5.2 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, University Presses declined 1.4%, bringing in $31.9 million for the first eight months of 2020.

    # # #

    AAP’s StatShot

    Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.

    StatShot reports are designed to give an up-to-date snapshot of the publishing industry 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 a year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

    It is not, however, possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to StatShot reports issued in previous years because: a) The number of StatShot participants fluctuates over time, with the pool of participants growing or shrinking in each report and b) It is a common accounting practices for businesses, including publishers, to restate revenue numbers based on updated information. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports, providing information that is more up-to-date and accurate.