October 13, 2020
AAP AUGUST 2020 STATSHOT REPORT: PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FLAT FOR MONTH; DOWN 4.6% YEAR TO DATE
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 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.
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.
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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.