Market Overview

Book Publisher Revenue Estimated at More Than $26 Billion in 2017


The Association of American Publishers (AAP) issued its 2018 StatShot
Annual Report today which found, among other things, 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, and from all distribution
channels. These 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

StatShot Annual is based on a unique methodology that combines annual
data submitted by publishers, along with market modeling, to estimate
the total size of the U.S. publishing industry. It is a different report
than AAP's monthly statistics reports, which track publisher revenue
comparatively on a month-to-month basis. Below is a top-level summary of
the data, but the entire report is available for purchase.

Publisher Revenue in Billions 2013 - 2017



      Trade     Higher Ed    




2013     $ 15.13     $ 4.81     $ 3.84     $ 2.97     $ 0.30     $ 0.02     $ 27.07
2014     $ 15.43     $ 4.85     $ 4.27     $ 3.09     $ 0.30     $ 0.00     $ 27.96
2015     $ 15.82     $ 4.53     $ 4.11     $ 3.05     $ 0.29     $ 0.00     $ 27.80
2016     $ 15.90     $ 3.96     $ 3.73     $ 2.37     $ 0.28     $ 0.04     $ 26.27
2017     $ 15.95     $ 3.98     $ 3.62     $ 2.35     $ 0.29     $ 0.04     $ 26.23

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
  • 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.

About StatShot Annual:

AAP member and non-member publishers provided data in response to a 2018
statistical survey that covers revenue and units by categories,
channels, and formats. Survey participants in StatShot Annual may not be
the same as those who participate in AAP's monthly surveys. Since the
annual survey does not include all known industry publishers, estimates
are used for publishers who do not participate directly in data
collection. These estimates are based on sales data included in company
financial reports, trade and news media reporting, government filings,
BooksinPrint, press releases, third party research services, and private

StatShot Annual Distribution:

Participants receive a complimentary copy of the full StatShot Annual
Report. Otherwise, the report is available for purchase here.
For more information about the report, email Syreeta Swann at

About AAP

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents the leading
book, journal, and education publishers in the United States on matters
of law and policy, advocating for outcomes that incentivize the
publication of creative expression, professional content, and learning
solutions. As essential participants in local markets and the global
economy, our members invest in and inspire the exchange of ideas,
transforming the world we live in one word at a time. Find us online at or
on twitter at @AmericanPublish.

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