AAP: U.S. Publishing Made $28 Billion in 2015

AAP, books, ebooks, sales, publishersThe Association of American Publishers (AAP) released data from its latest survey today, which found that the U.S. publishing industry generated $27.78 billion in net revenue in 2015. That amount was spread over 2.71 billion units, according to the AAP’s numbers.

Both figures were essentially flat compared to 2014’s numbers, with a 0.6-percent decrease in revenue from $27.96 billion, and a 0.5-percent increase in volume from 2.70 billion.

Revenue for 2015 was up, however, compared to 2013, when the industry brought in $27.07 billion and sold 2.715 billion units.

All these figures come from the AAP’s Annual StatShot Survey, which is “a yearly statistical survey of publishing’s estimated size and scope” and looks at trade (fiction/non-fiction/religious), k-12 instructional materials, higher education course materials, university presses and professional books.

Adult books saw the largest growth in 2015, growing 6.0 percent from $9.87 billion in 2014 to $10.47 billion in 2015. And for the second consecutive year, adult non-fiction books—which includes adult coloring books—was the category that sold the most units and provided the most revenue in the trade category.

Childrens/YA books, on the other hand, declined from $4.42 billion in revenue in 2014 to $4.27 billion. Ebooks sold in this category declined 35.0 percent.

Digital audio saw huge gains in 2015, growing 37.6 percent in revenue from 2014 and 41.1 percent in units sold. Revenue from this category has nearly doubled since 2012, from $299 million to $552 million.

Ebooks, which the AAP says peaked in 2013 at $3.24 billion, saw revenue decline $2.84 billion in 2015, after declining to $3.20 billion in 2014. Unit sales also declined 9.7 percent, with ebooks now making up 17.3 percent of the trade book market.

Print books were up overall in 2015, with hardcovers growing in revenue by 8.3 percent from $4.98 billion in 2014 to $5.40 billion in 2015. Paperbacks were the most popular format for units sold, making up 40.6 percent of the market, with mass markets adding another 7.3 percent. Paperback revenue was $5.23 billion in 2015, compared to $5.09 billion in 2014.

Number of units sold by format:

· Paperback & mass market: 1.18 billion
· Hardcover: 577 million
· Ebook: 424 million
· Children’s board books: 89 million
· Physical & digital audio: 81 million
· Other: 107 million

AAP's 2015 Annual Statshot Survey

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