08:04 PM

AAP StatShot: Sales Slow during First Quarter of 2015

Adult books experiencing growth

Washington, DC; July 16, 2015 – Publishers’ book sales for the first quarter of the year (Jan – March 2015) were down 6.6% for the year to date at $2.22 billion compared to $2.38 billion for the first quarter in 2014. Bright spots within the quarter were found in Trade -- specifically Adult Books -- and Professional Books.

These numbers include sales for all tracked categories (Trade -fiction/non-fiction, K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses). The monthly statistics (#AAPStats) are tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and include sales from more than 1,200 publishers.


Though sales in Trade Books for the quarter were $1.50 billion, down by 2.2% from the same quarter in 2014, the category saw some relief in March with a growth of 1.9%. Much of this can be attributed to Adult Books, which had a good month in March. The category was up 12.0% for the month, and 3.4% for the first quarter. Within Adult Books, there was double-digit growth in downloaded audio, physical audio and paperback book formats.

Children’s & Young Adults and Religious presses both declined this quarter, down 15.9% and 5.5% respectively.

Total Trade Net Revenue by Category (in millions)*


Jan. - March 2015

Jan. - March 2014

Percent Change

Adult Fiction/Non-Fiction








Religious Presses




Total Trade





Downloaded audio continued its hot growth streak, with a 33.6% improvement over the same quarter last year. Physical audio, mass market, paperback and board book formats all experienced growth this quarter as well, while hardback and eBook formats declined.


Total Trade Net Revenue by Format (in millions)*


Jan. - March 2015

Jan. - March 2014

Percent Change

Total Trade eBooks




Total Trade Hardback




Total Trade Paperback





Educational Materials:

Revenues for Higher Education materials and PreK-12 educational materials were down 29.0% and 7.1% compared to last quarter.

Professional and Scholarly Publishing:

Professional Publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books and journals, had a good start to the year. Sales were up 16.7% compared to the same quarter in 2014. However, University Presses were down 6.7%.

* NOTE: Figures represent publishers’ net revenue for the U.S. (i.e. what publishers sell to bookstores, direct to consumer, online venues, etc.), and are not retailer/consumer sales figures.

Media Contact

Marisa Bluestone / mbluestone@publishers.org / {202} 220-4558

Note to reporters: Charts will be available quarterly (March, June, Sept., & Dec.)


About AAP

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.