US publishing revenue nudged up 1.1% in 2019

US publishing revenue nudged up 1.1% in 2019

US publishing revenues in 2019 edged up by 1.1% on the previous year, according to an Association of American Publishers (AAP) Statshot annual report.

Revenues for the calendar year stood at $25.9bn, compared to $25.6bn in 2018, with around 2.76 billion units sold in all formats.

For the third consecutive year, publisher sales to online retail channels exceeded sales to physical outlets, with the margin growing wider. Online retail sales hit $8.2bn, a 20% rise over five years. In contrast, physical sales have fallen by 35.9% over the same period, to $5.86bn.

Nearly half of all overall revenue (47.6%) came from print formats. The dominance of print was particularly marked, representing 74.7% of revenue. Hardbacks contributed 24.2%, but accounted for 36% of total trade revenue. 

E-books continued their decline, with revenue falling 4.9% in 2019 to $1.94bn, down 30.8% over five years. However, audio's growth continued, generating $1.3bn in revenue, a 15.9% increase over 2018.

Overall, trade sales rose 0.4% in 2019 compared to the year before. Pre-school publications increased by 20.4% and university presses nudged up 1.1%, but there were declines elsewhere, with Higher Education falling 10.9%.

The AAP StatShot data is tracked monthly and includes revenue from around 1,360 publishers.