The Book Industry Is Still Strong

Selling books is big business. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) 2018 StatShot Annual Report, 2.72 billion book units were sold in 2017 generating $26.23 billion in net revenue.

Book Sales Hold Steady

Book sales held fairly steady from 2016 to 2017. The report revealed the following about book sales:

1. Paperbacks still reign.

Paperback books were the number one selling format. More than 1 billion paperback books were sold in 2017. Paperback sales made up 36.9% of all book sales.

2. Nonfiction book sales grew in 2017.

Nonfiction book sales saw an increase of 5.4% in publisher revenue from 2016 to 2017.

3. The number of Children and Young Adult books sold is growing.

Both fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults saw more units sold in 2017 than in 2016. Fiction sales grew by 1.1%, while nonfiction book sales in these categories grew by 4.4%.

4. Book sales through physical and online retail channels are now equal.

For years, book sales through physical stores were higher than book sales through online stores. In 2017, this pattern changed. Now sales through these two outlets are just about equal. In 2017, $7.6 billion dollars worth of books were sold through physical retail outlets while $7.5 billion dollars worth of books were sold through online retail channels.

Interestingly, for online sales of books, the breakdown is as follows:

  • 43.2% Print Books
  • 27% eBooks
  • 16.3% Instructional Materials
  • 10.5% Downloadable Audio
  • 3% Physical Audio or other format

In case you did not catch it, 70% of online sales of books are print and ebooks. Print books are still the number one format for book purchases. Print books engage more of our senses. We see them. We feel them. We smell them.

Flipback Books

Credit: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post

The book industry is constantly innovating to keep books fresh. The newest type of print book to hit the market is a tiny flipbook. These new books, the brainchild of Penguin Young Readers, are designed to be small and easily portable. Made with extremely thin paper (think Bible pages), the books are read horizontally with the pages flipped up rather than across. These books are meant to resemble reading on a screen.

This type of book has been sold in European countries for almost ten years. In Europe they are referred to as Flipbacks or Dwarsliggers. Whether these new tiny flipbooks with a full-length novel inside will be widely accepted with U.S. readers is still to be seen. The first ones do not release until October 23 and feature three books by John Green: Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars.

Would you read a Flipback? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Related Posts:
Publishing is Big Business
The Current State of Book Sales
Children’s Book Sales Hold Strong

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Photo credit: MegMoggington on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC