The Association of American Publishers has proclaimed that the U.S. book publishing industry generated an estimated $26.23 billion in net revenue for 2017, representing 2.72 billion units. All figures represent publishers’ net revenue from tracked categories (trade, higher education course materials, preK-12 instructional materials, professional books, and university press), in all formats, from all distribution channels. It is important to note that these figures are not retailer/consumer sales figures.
Publisher revenue for trade books (fiction, non-fiction and religious presses) were flat (0.3%) increasing by $45 million in 2017 over 2016. Since 2013, publisher revenue for trade books increased by around $820 million.
Some highlights from the report:
- Non-fiction books for adults is the category with the largest growth for publishers, with a 5.4% increase in publisher revenue from 2016 to 2017. Since 2013, revenue for the category has grown 28.4% to $6.18 billion. Nearly 150 million more adult non-fiction books were sold in 2017 than in 2013.
- Publisher revenue for adult fiction declined slightly, by -1.2% to $4.38 billion. From 2013 to 2017, this category saw only one year of revenue growth (2015).
- Both fiction and non-fiction books for children and young adults saw more units sold in 2017 than in 2016, up 1.1% and 4.4% respectively. Over the past five years (2013 – 2017) publisher revenue for children’s and YA fiction has grown by 11.3% to $3.67 billion and non-fiction has declined by -2.3% to $652 million.
- Downloaded audio remained the fastest growing format, with 28.8% year-over-year growth from 2016 to 2017 and 146.2% growth over the past five years (2013 – 2017).
- More than 1 billion paperback books were sold (more than any other format in 2017) comprising 36.9% of books sold in all categories
- For the first time publisher sales to physical and online retail channels were approximately equal at $7.6 billion and $7.5 billion respectively in 2017. Within online retail channels, 43.2% were print formats, 27% were eBooks, 16.3% were instructional materials, 10.5% were downloaded audio, and 3.1% were physical audio or a different format.
- Revenue from higher education was flat (0.5%), revenue from pre-K-12 and professional books declined in 2017 by -2.9 and -0.7% respectively.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.