April 1-15, 2004 Edition


Sales Pick up

in February

NEW YORK, NY/3/30/04—February publishing sales compensated for January losses, righting the course for 2004. Numbers improved in all but three categories tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for February, and year to date figures are resultantly back on track.

Sales of adult hardcover books grew 30.2 percent from February 2003, with sales of $82.4 million (up 34.1 percent from the 2003 for the year). Adult paperback sales realized a gain of 20.2 percent ($76 million), with the year to date figure up by a narrow 4.8 percent. The adult mass market category grew 5.7 percent, with sales totaling $58.7 million for February, this category is down 8.7 percent for the year.

The children’s and young adult hardcover category was up 12.2 percent ($24.6 million) from February 2003 and up 4.7 for the year. The children’s and young adult paperback publishing sales gained by a more significant 34.2 percent margin with sales totaling $30.6 million for February. The year to date number is 14.6 percent higher for 2004 in this category.

Audio books yielded a healthy 43.1 percent growth, with sales of $11.3 million, up 39.4 percent for the year. E-books again witnessed a tremendous month with sales up 278.4 percent for this small category ($900,000); sales are up 225.3 percent for 2004. Religious books celebrated another month of growth, this time by 34.8 percent for February ($36.7 million) and 33.4 percent greater than the February 2003 year to date earnings.

Sales of university press hardcover books had a slight gain of 9 percent ($10.1 million) in February 2004. This category has not yet recovered from January losses and maintains a year to date deficit of 13.8 percent. Sales in the university press paperback category were down again this month by 25.3 percent ($13.5 million). This category is also lagging behind the 2003 year to date number by a 33.3 percent margin. Sales in the professional and scholarly category slipped 13.9 percent in February, with sales of $34.8 million, down just 6.8 percent for the year. Finally, sales of ‘other’ types of books showed a noteworthy gain of 109.1 percent from February 2003 with sales of $2.4 million for this catchall category, which has gained a more meager 15 percent for the year.

Higher education publishing sales witnessed the largest loss of any of the categories. Publishing sales declined by a significant 87.6 percent from February 2003; sales totaled $2.3 million for February 2004. Higher education publishing sales are down 11.2 percent for the year. El-hi (elementary/high school) basal and supplemental K-12 net sales, however, were up 6.2 percent for February 2004 and 5.8 percent for the year, with sales of $86.8 million for February of this year.

The Association of American Publishers is the principal trade association for the U.S. book publishing industry with some 300 members, comprising 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.

The figures reported here are domestic net sales.