US publishing industry generated estimated $36.4 billion in revenue in 2015
The Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) annual StatShot survey estimated book sales in the US fell slightly in 2015 from the previous year, with revenue down 0.6% to US$27.78bn (A$36.40bn). A marginal 0.5% increase was noted in units sold, rising to 2.71bn in 2015.
In the trade sector, total revenue climbed from US$15.4bn (A$20.1bn) in 2014 to US$15.8bn (A$20.6bn) in 2015. Similarly, unit sales increased from 2.43bn in 2014 to 2.45bn in 2015.
Revenue growth was led by adult trade books, which jumped 6.0% to US$10.47bn (A$13.66bn). Adult nonfiction—which includes colouring books—accounted for the most units sold and provided the most revenue across the category, while fiction, led by bestsellers Go Set a Watchman (Harper Lee, Random House) and The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins, Black Swan), also contributed to the category’s growth.
Revenue for children’s/YA books was flat, with mixed results across formats. Ebook unit sales dropped 35%, while various other formats showed growth, with board books up 14%, downloaded audio up 1.2% and hardback up one percent.
Overall the StatShot survey—for the second year in a row—noted a fall in the popularity of ebooks with revenue declining 11.3% to US$2.84bn (A$3.72bn). In comparison, audiobook revenue has nearly doubled since 2012, rising from US$299m (A$390m) to US$552m (A$720m) over three years.
Increased revenue was noted for trade book sales at physical retail stores with a growth of 1.8%, while online retail remained the top sales channel for publishers’ revenue. In comparison, 806 million units were sold online whereas 610 million units were sold in physical stores in 2015.
AAP vice president Tina Jordan states that the 2015 StatShot survey ‘has confirmed print’s marked return’, adding that ‘adult books’ are at the forefront of the success spiking revenue by nearly US$90m (A$117m). According to the AAP, the ‘industry’s relative revenue decline was largely due to a challenging year in the education markets’.
The StatShot Annual is a yearly statistical survey of publishing’s estimated size and scope. It uses yearly sales data from almost 1800 publishers, and makes estimates for publishers who don’t participate based on company financial reports, government filings and other third-party sources. The AAP’s first report on 2015 sales, released in April, reflected only the sales reported by the 1205 publishers participating in the monthly StatShot program.
Category: International news