Book Publisher Revenue Estimated at $25.8 Billion in 2018

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.

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.
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