Since 2013, downloaded audio has been the trade book format with the greatest percent growth. In 2018 it grew by 37.1%, adding $127.1 million in revenue compared to 2017. eBooks declined slightly during the same period by 3.6% and generated over $1 billion dollars.
Revenue for trade book publishers was $7.49 billion in 2018, an increase of $341.5 million (4.6%) compared to 2017, according to the StatShot Monthly report from the Association of American Publishers. Each of the trade book categories – Adult Books, Children’s/Young Adult and Religious Presses – saw revenue growth. Revenue for trade books includes sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer and online retailers.
Adult Books – grew the most ($247.4 million) compared to 2017. Revenue for downloaded audio and hardback increased by double digits within the Adult Books category, but not every format benefitted from the category growth – mass market books and physical audiobooks saw declining revenue compared to 2017.
Both Children’s/Young Adult Books and Religious Presses bounced back from slight revenue declines in 2017, with $68.4 million (+3.3%) for the former and $25.7 million (+4.5%) for the latter in 2018 compared to 2017. Within Religious Presses, revenue for hardback books and eBooks increased while revenue for paperback books declined.
Overall publisher revenue for all tracked categories (Trade, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses) in 2018 was relatively flat at $14.55 billion (-0.4%) with a decrease of $57.0 million compared to 2017.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.