AAP: 2019 Book Industry Sales Rose 1.1%, to $25.93 Billion

Revenue for the U.S. book publishing industry in 2019 rose 1.1%, to $25.93 billion, and 2.76 billion "units" were sold, according to the Association of American Publishers' StatShot Annual Report for 2019. Unlike measures that rely solely on sales data, such as the AAP's own monthly reports, the StatShot Annual Report combines annual data submitted by publishers with market modeling to estimate the total volume of the U.S. publishing industry.

Among highlights from the report:

In 2019, adult fiction sales fell 3.7%, to $4.26 billion, and adult nonfiction fell 0.6%, to $5.99 billion. By contrast, in 2019, children's/YA fiction sales grew 5.3%, to $3.95 billion, and children's/YA nonfiction grew 7.8%, to $794 million.

For the third year in a row, publisher sales to online retail channels exceeded sales to physical retail channels, with the margin continuing to grow wider. In 2019, physical retail revenue declined 9.2%, to $5.86 billion, and online retail grew 1.7%, to $8.22 billion. Over the past five years, sales to online retailers have grown nearly 20% while sales to physical retail have fallen 35.9%.

In online retail channels, 48.5% of publisher sales were print formats, 22.3% were e-books, 12.6% were instructional materials, 13.5% were downloaded audio, and 3.1% were physical audio or a different format.

In 2019, the greatest growth for publishers in sales channels was direct sales, which increased 15.5%, to $5.46 billion, compared to 2018.

Of all books sold in 2019, nearly half (47.6%) of all sales came from four print formats: hardcover, board book, paperback and mass market.

For trade titles, print formats represented 74.7% of sales in 2019. Of those print sales, hardback units represented 24.2% of the total trade units sold but generated 36.0% of total trade revenue.

E-book sales fell 4.9%, to $1.94 billion, in 2019, and are down 30.8% in the five-year period 2015-2019. E-book unit sales fell 2.6%, to 335.7 million, compared to 2018.

Downloaded audio was again the fastest-growing digital revenue segment in the industry, with sales of $1.31 billion in 2019, a 15.9% increase over 2018. In the five-year period 2015-2019, downloaded audio grew a total of 143.8%.

For more information about the report, contact the Association of American Publishers.

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