February 25, 2021
AAP DECEMBER 2020 STATSHOT REPORT: PUBLISHING INDUSTRY DOWN 8.5% FOR MONTH; UP 0.1% FOR CALENDAR 2020
Trade (Consumer Book) Sales Up 9.5% in December; 9.7% Year to Date
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for December 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 December 2020 were down 8.5% as compared to December 2019, coming in at $1.1 billion.
Year-to-date sales were flat, with an increase of 0.1% as compared to calendar 2019, with a total of $14.8 billion.
Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues
Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 9.5% in December, coming in at $796.1 million. For January-December 2020 Trade sales were up 9.7% as compared to the same period last year, coming in at $8.6 billion.
In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of December, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 14.2%, coming in at $312.5 million; Paperbacks were up 2.4%, with $248.1 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 1.6% to $25.9 million; and Board Books were up 6.2%, with $16.7 million in revenue.
eBook revenues were up 18.4% for the month as compared to December of 2019 for a total of $89.7 million. The Downloaded Audio format jumped 30.0% for December, coming in at $66.0 million in revenue. Physical Audio declined 6.7% coming in at $1.9 million.
For calendar 2020 Hardback revenues were up 12.9%, to $3.4 billion; Paperbacks were up 5.6% to $2.6 billion; Mass Market declined 2.9% to $228.3 million; and Board Books were up 18.2% to $192.8 million as compared to 2019. eBooks were up 15.6%, coming in at $1.1 billion for calendar 2020. For calendar 2020 Downloaded Audio was up 16.5% as compared to 2019, with a total of $675.6 million for the year. Physical Audio was down 26.3%, with $25.8 million in revenue.
Religious press revenues were up 6.4% in December, coming in at $56.4 million. The category was up 4.2% for the calendar year, with revenues of $667.2 million.
During December 2020 Education revenues were $317.7 million, down 34.8% compared with December of 2019. Year-to-date Education revenues were down 10.9% as compared to calendar 2019, coming in at $6 billion.
Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were down 47.7% for the month, as compared to December of 2019, coming in at $177.0 million. On calendar-year basis, Higher Education revenues were down 4.3% to $2.9 billion.
PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were down 1.5% for December 2020, at $69.9 million. PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were down 19.6% at $2.5 billion on a year-to-date basis.
Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were down 10.1% during the month, coming in at $66.1 million. The category was up 1.0% for the calendar year, with $618.9 million in revenue.
University Presses were up 2.6% as compared to December of 2019, bringing in $4.7 million in revenue. For calendar 2020 University Presses rose 2.2%, bringing in $49.4 million.
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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.