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US Industry Down 3.7 Percent in May

Year-to-date hardback revenues were down 7.5 percent in May at US$1.2 billion, paperbacks up 8.7 percent for $1.3 billion.

On Times Square in New York City, May 22. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Christophe Badouet

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Year-to-Date Hardback Revenues Down 7.5 Percent

Yon its May 2022 StatShot report released this morning (August 1), the Association of American Publishers (AAP) cites total revenues across all trade categories down 3.3 percent over those of May 2021. Year-to-date trade revenues, the AAP reports, were down 1.4 percent.

Ace Publishing Perspectives readers know, the AAP’s numbers reflect reported revenue for tracked categories including trade (consumer books); higher education course materials; professional publishing; and university presses. Once again, pre-K revenue is not captured, because of delays, we’re told, in data collection.

Trade Revenues

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Image: AAP

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 10.7 percent, coming in at $227.8 million
  • Paperbacks were up 5.6 percent, with $249.8 million in revenue
  • Mass market was down 46.6 percent to $10.3 million
  • Special bindings were up 42.9 percent, with $12.7 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 5.7 percent for the month as compared to May 2021 for a total of $82.5 million
  • The downloaded audio format was up 6.2 percent for May, at $65.2 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 46.4 percent coming in at $1.2 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

Trade revenues were down 1.4 percent, at $3.5 billion for the first five months of the year.

In print formats:

  • Hardback revenues were down 7.5 percent, coming in at $1.2 billion
  • Paperbacks were up 8.7 percent, with $1.3 billion in revenue
  • Mass market was down 25.6 percent to $73.9 million
  • Special bindings were up 4.0 percent, with $68.8 million in revenue

In digital formats:

  • Ebook revenues were down 9.1 percent as compared to the first five months of 2021 for a total of $420.9 million
  • The downloaded audio format was up 4.0 percent, coming in at $326.3 million in revenue
  • Physical audio was down 35.0 percent coming in at $6.1 million
Religious Press Performance

Year-Over-Year Numbers

Religious press revenues were up 10.0 percent in May, coming in at $62.5 million.

  • Hardback revenues were up 8.9 percent to $37.6 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were up 16.7 percent to $8.1 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 10.7 percent coming in at $4.7 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were up 38.1 percent at $4.4 million

Year-to-Date Numbers

On a year-to-date basis, religious press revenues were down 3.6 percent, reaching $303.8 million.

  • Hardback revenues were down 6.1 percent at $176.1 million in revenue
  • Paperback revenues were up 4.7 percent to $46.7 million
  • Ebook revenues were down 14.8 percent at $26.6 million
  • Downloaded audio revenues were up 0.9 percent at $17.5 million
Education

During May 2022, revenues from higher education course materials were $119.4 million, down 9.2 percent compared with May 2021.

Year-to-date higher education course material revenues were $916.9 million, down 6.0 percent compared to the first five months of 2021.

Professional Books

Professional books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were up 9.4 percent during the month, coming in at $36.6 million. Year-to-date, professional book revenues were $161.0 million, down 5.2 percent as compared to the first five months of 2021

Methodology

We’ll quote here the explanatory material fine print provided on methodology for this report. We’ve edited only slightly, to minimize promotional language and to do away with a few institutional capitalizations.

“AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from US sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer [D2C], online retailers, and other channels. StatShot draws revenue data from approximately 1,366 publishers, although participation may fluctuate slightly from report to report. StatShot reports are designed to give ongoing revenue snapshots across publishing sectors 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 both a month-to-month and year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

“Monthly and yearly StatShot reports may not align completely across reporting periods, because: (a) The pool of StatShot participants may fluctuate from report to report; and (b) Like any business, it is common accounting practice for publishing houses to update and restate their previously reported revenue data. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports first indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports to AAP, allowing AAP in turn to report information that is more accurate than previously reported.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on industry statistics is here. More on the Association of American Publishers is here, more of our coverage of AAP StatShot reports is here, and more on the US market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year at London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London’s The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. I have co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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