US book publishing revenues across all categories up 2.8% year-over-year to US$1.1B in December, up 12.2% to US$15.4B for full-year 2021; in trade category for 2021, hardback revenues up 11.3% to US$3.7B, paperback revenues up 18.8% to US$3.1B: AAP

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January 28, 2022 (press release) –

Trade (Consumer Book) Revenues up 0.6% in December, and up 11.8% For Full Calendar Year

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for December 2021 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, and Professional Publishing.

Total revenues across all categories for December were up 2.8% as compared to December 2020, coming in at $1.1 billion. Year-to-date revenues were up 12.2%, at $15.4 billion for the calendar year.

Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

Calendar 2021

Trade (Consumer) revenues were up 11.8%, at $9.5 billion for the calendar year. Hardback revenues were up 11.3%, coming in at $3.7 billion; Paperbacks were up 18.8%, with $3.1 billion in revenue; Mass Market was up 5.5% to $240.9 million; and Board Books were up 9.7%, with $212.1 million in revenue.

eBook revenues were down 4.7% as compared to calendar 2020 for a total of $1.1 billion. The Downloaded Audio format was up 13.4%, coming in at $766.2 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 16.4% coming in at $21.6 million.

December 2021


Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 0.6% in December, coming in at $792.9 million.

In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of December, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 3.7%, coming in at $298.4 million; Paperbacks were up 8.8%, with $266.2 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 26.2% to $19.1 million; and Board Books were up 20.3%, with $20.2 million in revenue. 

eBook revenues were down 5.4% for the month as compared to December of 2020 for a total of $83.9 million. The Downloaded Audio format was down 0.1% for December, coming in at $66.0 million in revenue. Physical Audio was down 27.6% coming in at $1.4 million.

Religious Presses

Calendar 2021

On a year-to date basis, religious press revenues were up 11.2%, reaching $705.1 million. Hardback revenues were up 13.1% at $435.7 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 4.9% to $102.7 million, eBook revenues were down 8.0% at $49.2 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 9.4% at $39.7 million. 

December 2021

Religious press revenues were 3.3% in December, coming in at $54.2 million. Hardback revenues were up 0.5% to $33.1 million in revenue, Paperback revenues were up 0.2% to $8.7 million, eBook revenues were down 5.2% coming in at $3.3 million, and Downloaded Audio revenues were up 10.0% at $2.7 million.


Calendar 2021

Year-to-date education revenues were $5.4 billion, up 13.8% as compared to the twelve months of 2020. Year-to-date Higher Education was up 2.5%, at $3.1 billion.  Year-to-date PreK-12 revenues were up 34.6%, coming in at $2.2 billion. More in-depth information on PreK-12 Books and Materials Monthly is included in AAP’s PreK-12 monthly report.

December 2021

During December education revenues were $275.9 million, up 9.5% compared with December 2020. 

Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were up 6.5% for the month, as compared to 2020, coming in at $216.3 million. 

PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were up 21.9% for December 2021, at $59.5 million. 

Professional Books

Calendar 2021

Year-to-date Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, revenues were $381.9 million, up 4.1% as compared to calendar 2020.

December 2021

Professional Books were down 5.1% during the month, coming in at $35.5 million. 

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 1,360 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 before.

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