US publishers' revenues leap 4.9% in first quarter

US publishers' revenues leap 4.9% in first quarter

US book publishing revenues have risen 4.9% for the first quarter of 2017 following higher sales in Adult books and higher education course materials, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) has reported.

Revenues hit $2.33bn, seeing in an increase of $108m on the first quarter of 2016. The AAP's StatShot report tracks 1,200 publishers’ net revenue from all distribution channels (as opposed to retailer or consumer sales figures) across trade, education, higher education, university presses and professional markets.

Trade books overall grew marginally by about $13m (0.9%) compared to the first quarter of 2016. Adult fiction and non-fiction titles grew revenues 3.4%, from $971.2m to $1,004.3m, but revenues for children’s and YA titles declined 3.2%, from $377.7m to $365.5, and sales at religious presses fell 7.4%, from $1,464.5m to $1,477m. 

In terms of trade book formats, US publishers saw about $12m in increased revenues from print books. This was mostly due to an 8.2% growth in hardback books, from $433.7m in the first quarter in 2016 to $469.1m in the first quarter in 2017, according to the AAP. Revenues for digital formats were mixed, meanwhile, with downloaded audio growing 28.8%, from $58m to $92.4m, as e-books declined by 5.3%, from $296.8m to $281m.

Revenues for education and scholarly publishing increased during the first quarter. Higher education course materials sales were up by 24.3% ($92m) to $470.2m in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter in 2016. Revenues for professional publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books, were up by 4.5% ($5m) to $119.5m

PreK-12 instructional materials sales declined by 0.7%, from $242.7m to $241.0m in 2016. University Press revenues were down by 2.4% ($309,000) compared to the first quarter of 2016.