US trade sales up slightly in 2015

US trade sales up slightly in 2015

US publishers' trade book sales were up 0.8% to $7.2bn last year compared to $7.1bn in 2014, while e-book sales declined, according to statistics released by the Association of the American Publishers (AAP).

The StatShot Annual - a yearly statistical survey which estimates the total size of the US publishing industry by collecting sales data from nearly 1,800 publishers, with estimates used for publishers who do not participate directly - showed that publishers’ book sales for trade and consumer books from January to December of 2015 were up 0.8% to $7.2bn, despite a “slow” holiday season. However, overall publisher revenue for 2015 was down 2.6% from 2014 to $15.4bn.

E-book sales declined in 2015, mostly in the childrens and young adult category, which was down 43.3% from 2014, while adult e-book sales dropped 9.5%.  However, the AAP only tracks the digital sales from publishers and not from self-published atuhors. Meanwhile, downloaded audio continued to grow in popularity last year with this growth most evident in the adult books category, up 38.9% from 2014.

Tina Jordan, vice president of the AAP, said: “For trade publishers, 2014 was a blockbuster year – especially in the childrens and young adult books category; so despite the challenging comps, increased sales in adult books helped the industry post gains in 2015."

For the month of December 2015, US trade books were up 0.3% compared to December 2014, and up 0.8% for the full calendar year. Children’s & young adult books were up 7.3% compared to December 2014, but the category still ended the year down 3.2%. Adult books, meanwhile, were down 2.6% in December, but ended the year with an overall growth of 2.2%.

Downloaded audio and paperback books grew every month in 2015 compared to the same month in 2014. Within adult books, downloaded audio was up 38.9% and paperback was up 16.2% for the year and hardback is down 0.5% for the year. Within the children’s and young adult category, paperback sales were up 9.5% and board books were up 12.6%, while hardback was down 7.7% for the year.

Sales for professional publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books and journals, were up 4.2% for December 2015 vs December 2014 and down slightly by 0.8% for 2015. University Presses were down 3.1% year-over-year compared to the same 12 months in 2014.