June 1-15, 2005 Edition

Consumer Book

Sales Increase

In Some Categories

New York, NY/05/14/05—The Association of American Publishers recently released the 2004 edition of Consumer Books and Materials. The only one of its kind, the report is based on data from 20 major publishers representing global net sales in excess of $5.5 billion.

While overall net sales fell by 1.0 percent from 2003, due largely to a $100 million dollar (5 percent) decrease in the Children’s/YA Hardcover category, Adult Hardcover net sales grew by 6 percent, and Paperback book sales increased 1.5 percent over 2003. Religious books reflected a second strong year of growth, with a 9.1 percent increase in dollar sales. The market for e-books grew by just over $1 million to $4.3 million, an impressive 36 percent increase over 2003. Children’s/YA Paperbacks (down 0.6 percent) and Audio (up 0.1 percent) remained fairly steady. Mass Market reflected a disappointing 8.8 percent drop in dollar sales.

The ratio of returns to gross dollar sales in the Adult Hardcover category remained steady from 2003 at 34 percent; returns for Adult Paperback books were 23.1 percent, up from 22.7 percent in 2003. Returns on mass market paperback books were 44.9 percent, up from 39.8 percent in 2003.

While still small in absolute numbers (total dollar sales of $4.3 million represent only 0.08 percent of the total book market), the e-book market continued its notable growth with a gain of 37 percent, although not up to the spectacular 45 percent increase in the market in 2003. The Religion category, which includes a wide variety of books including some self-help titles, continued to grow well. Though the 9.1 percent increase over 2003 is more modest that last year’s 40 percent, it is nonetheless encouraging.

Internet retailers claimed a larger share of the business this year, with 3.6 percent of sales conducted though this channel, up from 2.5 percent in 2003. Almost all of this growth came at the expense of brick and mortar retailers. Consumers who purchased over the Internet showed a marked preference for hardcover books; 47 percent of books sold online were in this format.

AAP publishes an extensive series of statistical reports about the Consumer, ElHi, Higher Education, and Professional publishing sectors. Some of these are issued monthly, based on actual data reported by AAP members; others are available annually; still others reflect the production of published material, including manuals and brochures which are not typically sold as identifiable units.

The Consumer Books and Materials report is based on factual data submitted by 20 of the largest publishers in the United States. All AAP reports are available to members free of charge, and can be purchased by others at the following address:, where the report’s Table of Contents can also be found.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade organization of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 corporate members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States as well as smaller and medium-sized houses, non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field including general fiction and non­fiction, poetry, children’s books, textbooks, Bibles and other religious works, reference works, scientific, medical, technical, professional, scholarly books and journals, audio books, computer software, and a range of electronic products and services.

The report was prepared by Management Practice Inc., a professional marketing and consulting firm in Stamford, CT.