Sales of adult and children’s trade titles rose 13.8% in the first six months of 2012, according to statistics released last week by the Association of American Publishers as part of its StatShot program. Total industry sales rose 4.4%, to $5.79 billion, at the 1,186 publishers that report revenue to AAP.
In the trade categories , the children’s/young adult segment had the strongest gain, with sales up 40.7%, while sales of adult books rose 8.3%. While e-book sales posted strong gains, sales of print titles were up 5.0% in the first half of 2012 at the trade houses that report to StatShot. The print gains came entirely in the children’s/YA segment, where print sales rose 15.4%, while print sales in adult slipped by 0.3% to $1.47 billion. Mass market paperback continued to be the print segment under the most pressure from the sale of digital content, down 20.3%. The trade paperback segment had the strongest showing among the adult print categories, with sales up 5.2%, helped in no small way by the blockbuster sales of the Fifty Shades trilogy. E-books, with their 34.4% increase in sales in the first six months of 2012, accounted for 28.1% of adult trade sales, up from 22.6% in the first half of 2011.
Starting from a smaller base, e-book sales in the children’s/YA segment jumped 251.5% and accounted for 14.2% of sales at the end of the first six months of 2012 compared to 5.1% a year ago. Both print and e-book sales in children’s/YA were boosted by the Hunger Games. The question trade publishers are now asking is whether the industry can sustain its growth as sales of the two blockbuster series fade.
In areas outside of trade, sales in the religious press segment fell 9.2% in he six-month period, to $283.2 million. Paperbacks had the largest decline, falling 30.5% due in part to slowing sales of the long-running bestseller Heaven Is for Real. Sales of e-books rose 41.5% in the period and accounted for 12% of sales compared to 8% in the first half of 2011.
In the professional category, sales inched up 0.4%, to $293.3 million, as slight gains in medical and law/technical/scientific/other books offset a decline in business book sales. At university presses, total six-month sales rose 5.5%, to $68.1 million. E-book sales jumped 97.5%, but still represented only 6% of total revenue.
In the education side, sales of k–12 instructional materials fell 14.0%, to $1.02 billion, while sales of higher educational course materials, rose 1.5% to $1.06 billion.
January–June Trade StatShot Sales
|Mass Market Paper||249.6||198.9||-20.3|