Publishers’ sales in the US fell 5.6% year-on-year to $3bn in the first third of 2015, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP).
The latest monthly AAP StatShot, covering April, put total revenues for publishers down 3.3% for the month compared to April 2014. The figure represents a shallower fall than the 6.6% drop seen in the "slow" first quarter for the year.
The AAP StatShot includes sales from more than 1,200 publishers and tracks categories including trade fiction and non-fiction, and children’s books. April's figures show a steep decrease in sales of children’s and YA, and e-book sales also fell, but there were increases in the sales of adult books and professional books, which grew 2.3% and 3.1% respectively compared to last April.
Trade books were down 2.9% for the month, and 2.1% year-to-date. Children’s and YA and religious presses were down 15.1% and 9.2% respectively from January to April this year compared to the same period in 2014.
The StatShot said that downloaded audio “continues to grow at a very healthy pace”, with 33.3% growth through April.
Hardback adult books “did well” in April 2015, with 15.8% growth compared to April 2014. But the StatShot said that “the growth of hardbacks is unique to the adult books category, since the format is down in other categories and is down 4% year-to-date”.
E-books were also down year-to-date by 9.3%. The AAP StatShot does not include data on self-published titles.
Revenues for school books were up in April by 15.1%, resulting in 0.5% year-to-date growth, but higher education course materials were down 31.6% year-to-date.
Sales for professional publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books and journals, were up 13.3% compared to the time in 2014, but university presses were down 6.6%.