US publishing revenues fell 12.1% in May compared to the same month in 2019, according to the latest StatShot report by the Association of American Publishers.
Total revenues across all categories for May 2020 were around $1bn. Meanwhile, while year-to-date sales now stand at $4.3bn, sale have fallen 4.5% compared to the same period last year.
Trade sales for May fell 7.9% year-on-year to $635.8m, with year-to-date sales slipping 1.5% to $2.8bn, the report revealed. May's hardback sales saw the steepest decline compared to 2019, plunging 18.5% while paperbacks fell 16.9% and mass market titles fell just 0.6%.
However, e-book revenues were up 39.2% to $113m for the month compared to May 2019. On a year-to-date basis, they were up 7.3%, coming in at $435.4m for the first five months of 2020.
Downloaded audio revenues were another bright spot, seeing a 22% increase in May compared to the same month last year, reaching $54.2m. On a year-to-date basis, downloaded audio was up 15.8% and the format has seen continuous growth every month since 2012. Revenues in the children’s and YA books category saw a 69.4% year-over-year increase in May to $5.4m.
Elsewhere, religious presses were up to 7% year on year in May but down 6.6% on a year-to-date basis. In education, year-to-date revenues dropped 9.9% to $1.5bn. Revenues from higher education course materials were up for the month and up 8.9% on a year-to-date basis.
University presses declined 5.4% compared to May 2019, bringing in $3.1m in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, they declined 10.1%, bringing in $16.8m.
However, there was better news from NPD BookScan's figures for the first half of the year, according to Publisher's Weekly. Those showed unit sales of print books increasing 2.8% on the same period last year, up from 313.5 million to 322.1 million.