May publishing industry revenue down 3.7% year-over-year to US$837.8M, while YTD revenue down 2.5% to US$4.6B; May consumer book revenue down 3.3% to US$673.1M, Religious press revenue up 10% in May to US$62.5M: AAP StatShot Report

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August 2, 2022 (press release) –

Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues fall 3.3% in May, and 1.4% Year-to-Date

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released its StatShot report for May 2022 reflecting reported revenue for Trade (Consumer Books), Higher Education Course Materials, and Professional Publishing. The report does not include Pre-K revenue due to delays in data collection but will be updated as soon as that data becomes available.

Total revenues across all categories, excluding PreK-12, for May 2022 were down 3.7% as compared to May 2021, coming in at $837.8 million. Year-to-date revenues were down 2.5%, at $4.6 billion for the first five months of the year.

Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

Trade (Consumer Books) sales were down 3.3% in May, coming in at $673.1 million.

In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of May, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 10.7%, coming in at $227.8 million; Paperbacks were up 5.6%, with $249.8 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 46.6% to $10.3 million; while Special Bindings were up 42.9%, with $12.7 million in revenue.

eBook revenues were down 5.7% for the month as compared to May 2021 for a total of $82.5 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 6.2% for May, coming in at $65.2 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 46.4% coming in at $1.2 million.

Year-to-date Trade revenues were down 1.4%, at $3.5 billion for the first five months of the year. Hardback revenues were down 7.5%, coming in at $1.2 billion; Paperbacks were up 8.7%, with $1.3 billion in revenue; Mass Market was down 25.6% to $73.9 million; and Special Bindings were up 4.0%, with $68.8 million in revenue.

eBook revenues were down 9.1% as compared to the first five months of 2021 for a total of $420.9 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 4.0%, coming in at $326.3 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 35.0% coming in at $6.1 million.

Religious Presses

Religious press revenues were up 10.0% in May, coming in at $62.5 million. Hardback revenues were up 8.9% to $37.6 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 16.7% to $8.1 million, eBook revenues were down 10.7% coming in at $4.7 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 38.1% at $4.4 million.

On a year-to-date basis, religious press revenues were down 3.6%, reaching $303.8 million. Hardback revenues were down 6.1% at $176.1 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 4.7% to $46.7 million, eBook revenues were down 14.8% at $26.6 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 0.9% at $17.5 million. 

Education

During May 2022 revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were $119.4 million, down 9.2% compared with May 2021. Year-to-date Higher Education Course Materials revenues were $916.9 million, down 6.0% compared to the first five months of 2021.

The performance of the Education categories during this month may reflect multiple factors, including rebounding business post-COVID.

Professional Books

Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were up 9.4% during the month, coming in at $36.6 million. Year-to-date Professional Books revenues were $161.0 million, down 5.2% as compared to the first five months of 2021.

AAP’s StatShot

AAP StatShot reports the monthly and yearly net revenue of publishing houses from U.S. sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, and other channels. StatShot draws revenue data from approximately 1,366 publishers, although participation may fluctuate slightly from report to report. 

StatShot reports are designed to give ongoing revenue snapshots across publishing sectors using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on both a month-to-month and year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

Monthly and yearly StatShot reports may not align completely across reporting periods, because: a) The pool of StatShot participants may fluctuate from report to report; and b) Like any business, it is common accounting practice for publishing houses to update and restate their previously reported revenue data. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports first indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports to AAP, permitting AAP in turn to report information that is more accurate than previously reported.

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Dan Rivard
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