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Cara Duckworth cduckworth@publishers.org

AAP MARCH 2020 STATSHOT REPORT: PUBLISHING INDUSTRY DECLINES 8.4% FOR MONTH, FLAT YEAR TO DATE

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for March 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.

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Total sales across all categories for March 2020 declined 8.4% as compared to the third month of 2019, reaching $667 million. Year-to-date sales were flat with an increase of just 0.3%, totaling $2.6 billion for the first three months of 2020.

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Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues:

Trade sales were up 0.8% as compared to March of 2019, coming in at $560 million. Year-to-date Trade sales were up 2.6%, totaling $1.67 billion for the first three months of the year.

Physical paper formats in the Trade (consumer publications) category increased 1.2%, accounting for $411 million, or 73.4% of the category’s revenue for the month.

Downloaded Audio continued to grow during the month of March, with a 15.1% increase as compared to March of last year, reaching $50 million in revenue. Within the Downloaded Audio format, Children’s Books jumped 46.6% during the month, and 25.9% year-to-date.

On a year-to-date basis, Downloaded Audio was up 16.6% as compared to the first three months of 2019, with a total of $155 million for the year so far. The Downloaded Audio format has seen continuous growth every single month since AAP began tracking it in 2012.

eBook revenues declined 4.8% as compared to March 2019 for a total of $74 million. On a year- to-date basis, eBooks declined 5.7%, coming in at $232 million for the first three months of 2020.

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Education:

In the education sector, revenues from Higher Education Course Materials dropped 8.5% to $13 million compared to March of last year, while year-to-date revenues were up 2.5%, coming in at $594 million.

Prek-12 Instructional Materials dropped 50.6% to $54 million compared to March of last year and while year-to-date revenues in the category were down 24.0%, coming in at $173 million.

Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, declined 21.1% for the month, generating $31 million, and up 3.8% year-to-date, with $115 million in revenue during the first three months.

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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.