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Book Publisher Revenue Estimated at $25.8 Billion in 2018

Book Publisher Revenue Estimated at $25.8 Billion in 2018

Washington, DC; June 21, 2019 – The Association of American Publishers (AAP) issued its StatShot Annual Report for Calendar Year 2018 today, which concludes that the U.S. book publishing industry generated an estimated $25.82 billion in net revenue, representing 2.71 billion units. All figures represent publishers’ net revenue from tracked categories (trade, higher education course materials, preK-12 instructional materials, professional books, and university press), in all formats, from all distribution channels. These are not retailer/consumer sales figures.

Publishing revenue for trade books (fiction, non-fiction, and religious presses) increased slightly (1.5%) to $16.19 billion in 2018. Since 2014, publisher revenue for trade books, the industry’s largest category, has increased by about $760 million.

Publisher Revenue in Billions 2014 – 2018

Trade Higher Ed PreK-12 Professional University Presses Other Total








































Some highlights from the report:

  • Non-fiction books (both adult and children’s & young adult) experienced the largest percentage revenue growth for publishers over the past five years. Adult non-fiction revenues grew 22.8% and children’s & young adult non-fiction revenues grew 38.5% from 2014 – 2018. Unit sales for adult non-fiction and children’s & young adult non-fiction grew 20.9% and 17.8%, respectively, over the same five-year period.
  • For the second consecutive year, publisher sales to online retail channels exceeded sales to physical retail channels with sales to online retail at $8.03 billion and sales to physical retail at $6.90 billion.
  • Publisher revenue for adult fiction was flat (0.4%) at $4.40 billion in 2018, while children’s & young adult fiction grew slightly (1.6%) to $3.72 billion.
  • Religious presses revenue grew 14.7% in 2018 to $1.22 billion with 75.7% of the revenue coming from print formats.
  • Unit sales for fiction for children’s & young adults declined by 0.8%, while non-fiction for children’s & young adults increased by 0.4%. Publisher revenue for children’s & young adult fiction has grown by 1.6% to $3.72 billion and non-fiction has increased by 11.9% to around $730 million.
  • Downloaded audio remained the fastest growing format, with 28.7% year-over-year revenue growth from 2017 to 2018 and 181.8% revenue growth over the past five years (2014 – 2018).
  • Within online retail channels, 45.1% of publishers’ sales were trade print formats, 24.5% were eBooks, 14.5% were instructional materials, 13.7% were downloaded audio, and 2.2% were physical audio or a different format.

About StatShot Annual:

StatShot Annual is based on a unique methodology that combines annual data submitted by publishers, along with market modeling, to estimate the total volume of the U.S. publishing industry. It is a different report than AAP’s monthly statistics reports, which track publisher revenue comparatively on a month-to-month basis.

In contributing to StatShot Annual, AAP member and non-member publishers provided data in response to a statistical survey about 2018, covering net revenue and units by categories, channels, and formats. Survey participants in StatShot Annual may not be the same as those who participate in AAP’s monthly surveys. Since the annual survey does not include all known industry publishers, estimates are used for publishers who do not participate directly in data collection. These estimates are based on sales data included in company financial reports, trade and news media reporting, government filings, Books In Print, press releases, third party research services, and private sources.

StatShot Annual Distribution:

All participating publishers and distributors receive a complimentary copy of the full StatShot Annual Report. All others may purchase the report. For more information about the report, email Syreeta Swann at

About AAP

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) 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 or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.