US book sales fall in first five months of 2015

US book sales fall in first five months of 2015

Book sales of traditionally published books in the US fell by almost 6% in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period the year before.

Overall sales for trade fiction and non-fiction, children, higher education, professional and university presses were down 5.8% from January to May 2015 to $4bn, compared to $4.3bn for the same five months last year, according to the AAP StatShot, produced by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

The fastest growing format from January to May was audio, with 38% sales growth compared to the same time last year.

In May, audio in the adult books category grew by a “hefty” 62.4% compared to May 2014, the AAP said. 

Paperbacks grew 8.4% in the first five months of 2015, but hardback and e-book sales have fallen by 11.6% and 10.2% respectively in comparison to the same period a year earlier. 

Revenues for school instructional materials were down by 12% in May, while higher education course materials were up by 20.9% in May. However, both categories are down in the year-to-date.

Sales for professional publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books and journals, are up 5.9% for the year so far compared to 2014, but university presses are down 4%.

The StatShot includes sales from more than 1,200 publishers, but does not include self-published works.