eBook and Downloaded Audiobook Units Hit Record Highs; Adult Non-Fiction is Fastest-Growing Trade Category

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New York, NY — The overall US book and journal publishing industry generated $27.01 billion in net revenue for 2013, representing 2.59 billion in units (volume), according to BookStats Volume 4, the annual statistical survey of publishing’s size and scope being released today.

As reported in BookStats, the Trade sector — covering general consumer fiction and non-fiction — generated $14.63 billion in net revenue and 2.32 billion in volume.

For 2013, Adult Non-Fiction was the fastest-growing Trade category, surpassing Juvenile (Children’s/Young Adult) which had been the growth leader for the past two years. In formats, eBooks hit record volume numbers while revenue was flat; downloaded audiobooks hit all-time highs in both revenue and units. In sales channels, publishers’ net revenue from sales of digital and print content via online retail is now ahead of revenue from brick-and-mortar retail.

BookStats provides actionable information for better investing, budgeting and strategy. It allows publishers to assess the effectiveness of their own programs relative to the entire industry. For investors and others, it provides six years of trend information to better understand ongoing changes in the publishing business. This edition covers 2008-2013 and includes overall tracks and analytics for Trade, K-12, Higher Education and Professional/Scholarly publishing. It also has data specific to categories, formats and sales channels and is the only comprehensive source of eBook sales information.

The BookStats Online Data Dashboard is currently available for purchase. Two PDF reports featuring analysis of the data, a 15-page executive summary and a 70-page annual report, are available for pre-order are available for pre-order and will be published in August.

BookStats is co-produced by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group.

Areas examined in the report:

Trends in Trade totals:

While publishers’ revenue in the Trade sector has generally experienced steady annual growth since BookStats began tracking (2008) despite the economy and other factors, 2012 was an outlier: It was the strongest year in publishing’s recent history with a series of blockbuster releases including The Hunger Games (in Juvenile category) and Fifty Shades of Grey (in Adult Fiction category). Conventional wisdom was that 2013 would see a significant decline in revenue and units.

Instead, there was only a slight drop in revenue and units vs 2012 while numbers continued to grow at the same pace vs earlier years. This supports the fact that while specific extraordinary titles may impact publishing from year to year, the industry’s health is driven by the depth and range of titles and formats produced by publishers.

Trends in Overall US Publishing totals:

Echoing the results in the Trade sector, the overall industry — which additionally includes learning and classroom materials for K-12 and Higher Education, professional and scholarly journals — remained flat vs 2012. The numbers reflect modest increases in K-12 revenue and units in 2013 and in revenue for Higher Ed and Professional/Scholarly.

Trends in Trade categories:

Adult Non-Fiction showed the strongest year-over-year growth among the five Trade sector subcategories we track (the others: Adult Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, Juvenile Non-Fiction, Religion).

Trends in Trade formats:

In terms of Trade sector units, eBooks hit a record high in 2013 although Trade Paperbacks remain the #1 Trade format. At the same time, Trade eBook revenue was essentially flat vs 2012 yet grew +43% over 2011. These seemingly-contradictory figures could be attributed to a number of factors such as the 2012 bestsellers and retailer pricing.

Also in formats, downloaded audio continued its multiyear growth track, also hitting record highs in both Trade units and revenue.

Trends in sales channels:

BookStats’ numbers on sales channels reflect how publishers get books into the marketplace, not how the books might be subsequently distributed, the end retailers’ sales from consumers or the competitive revenue among these channels.

BookStats defines Online Retail as a) physical and digital products and b) sold through both online-only sellers as well as the online personas of retailers that maintain brick-and-mortar stores. For 2013, publisher revenue from Online Retail now eclipses publisher revenue from all brick-and-mortar channels combined. Online Retail now represents 35.4% of all Trade publisher revenue.

BookStats FAQ:

How many publishers provided source data?

There were 1616. Most publishers provided data directly while some came from distributors on behalf of their publisher clients.

What other source data is used?

As in the past editions, we include economic analysis and estimate of the full sizing of the industry.

What is “net revenue?”

The amount of revenue earned by publishers after returns, discounts and promotions are removed. It’s important to note that these numbers are measured at publishers’ net pricing to their sales channels, not the higher retail Point of Sale (consumer sales) pricing.

Does BookStats include self-published books?

Revenue from any self-published book registered with a US commercial book identifier number (an ISBN) is included in the extrapolation and methodology of the report. Books without ISBN numbers cannot be tracked. Again note that the report only captures publishers’ net revenues, not retailer/consumer sales.

What is the difference between the BISG/AAP BookStats report and the AAP StatShot report?

The AAP StatShot report is produced monthly and is based on actual data from participating publishers (roughly 1200 participants/month). It captures revenue, not volume, for the main industry sectors, categories and formats; it includes the current month and the year-to-date, both vs the previous year’s time period. The December StatShot, which covers 12 months, is in essence a preliminary full-year snapshot of the industry.

BookStats reports more comprehensive industry estimates for sectors, categories, formats and sales channels. As explained above, to determine the estimates, BookStats methodology incorporates data from participating publishers and other sources including economic analysis and estimate of the full sizing of the industry (extrapolation). The survey features net revenue and unit volume, as well as more granular examinations into the Trade Fiction, Non-Fiction, Juvenile and Religion categories. It also provides analysis of publishers’ sales channels.

I’m a member of the media. Can I get a full set of the data?

At this time, we are not providing free copies of any of the products. If you are interested in a specific data point for a story, please contact info@publishers.org

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