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AAP Reports Mixed Bag For Book Sales

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January 1-15, 2004 Edition

AAP Reports

Mixed Bag

For Book Sales

NEW YORK/12/30/03–Sales results were mixed for November. Gains in some categories seemed to be countered by losses in others. Year to date numbers were still down in many categories and cast a shadow over year-end improvements.

Sales of adult hardcover books gained 11.8 percent compared to November 2002, with sales of $126.6 million. Calendar year to date figures are down only 2.6 percent for the year compared to larger deficits earlier this fall. Adult paperback sales realized similar gains, with sales totaling $82.3 million, up 14.8 percent from November 2002. The adult mass market category was down slightly, by 3.2 percent, with sales of $74.5 million. Year to date figures show sales are still down 4.7 percent for the year in this category.

The children’s hardcover category posted a loss, down 12.3 percent as compared with November 2002, with sales of $30.8 million. Year to date figures are strong, with sales up 32.2 percent over last year. The children’s paperback category was also down 28.1 percent for November ($21.5 million). Year-end numbers show sales are down 9.1 percent for the year.

Audio book sales rose 21 percent, with sales of $13.1 million. E-books posted another spectacular month with sales up 128.3 percent, with sales of $500,000. Due to the relatively small size of the category, incremental growth made for a 176.5 percent boon over 2002 numbers through November. Religious books also posted strong numbers in November, with sales up 155.7 percent ($47.8 million) from last November. Year to date figures show sales are up 52.6 percent for this year.

Sales of university press books made marginal gains, with sales up 6.4 percent from last year ($6.2 million up from $6 million in October of this year) for hardcover, countered by losses of 8.7 percent ($4.3 million) for paperback. Year-end numbers paint a brighter picture, with sales up 10.7 percent for hardcover and up 6.8 percent for paperback. Sales in the professional and scholarly category rose 27.4 percent in November, with sales of $59.1 million. Year to date numbers show sales are up by a narrow .3 percent for the year overall. Sales of ‘other’ types of books showed a drop of 14.9 percent from November 2002 numbers with sales of $1.6 million. Year-end figures show sales are down an overall 20.7 percent this year for this catchall category.

Higher education sales were 15.6 percent lower in November. However, year to date figures show sales are up only .2 percent for the year. El-hi (elementary/high school) basal and supplemental K-12 net sales were down 7.4 percent in November, with sales of $92.4 million. Calendar year to date numbers show sales have gained 2.1 percent for the 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.

NOTE: All sales figures cited in this release are domestic net sales.