The Association of American Publishers today released its final report on industry sales for 2020, and the numbers show another stable year, with sales down 0.2% from 2019, sliding to $ 25.71 billion. AAP CEO Maria Pallante called the results “remarkable” given all the challenges caused by Covid-19. Indeed, in the spring of 2020, the industry was preparing for a sharp drop in sales.
The final results closely follow preliminary results released earlier this year, which also revealed that sales were equal to 2019. These results are based on revenue reports provided by 1,354 publishers to AAP’s StatShot program. Final figures include StatShot revenue as well as estimates for publishers who do not report to AAP. Additionally, the AAP incorporated information from Bowker’s Books In Print database to ensure it captured all active publishers in this year’s estimate, including small publishers.
As previously reported, the business segments of publishing performed much better than the educational categories, although the final report shows lower gains for the business segment as a whole than for the publishers that report to StatShot. . Commercial sales of adults increased 9.6% to $ 10.77 billion, while the children / young adults category increased 3.5% to $ 4.7 billion. Sales in the religion category, which had increased for publishers reporting to the AAP, fell 8.4% for all publishers to $ 1.20 billion.
Educationally, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to increased use of digital material, especially in higher education. Sales in the higher education segment fell 5.7% to $ 3.10 billion, which the AAP attributed in part to “the widespread adoption of cost-effective electronic textbooks both in the sale and rental “. With the pandemic causing widespread disruption of normal el-hi routines, 2020 sales in the pre-K-12 education category fell 12.9% to $ 3.84 billion.
One of the many changes caused by the pandemic has been the shift to more online shopping, and this is reflected in the AAP report. For all publishers, online revenue increased 19.2% from 2019 to $ 9.5 billion. The AAP also noted that 2020 was the first time that the online channel, dominated of course by Amazon, accounted for more than 50% of commercial sales. The effects of the closures on physical stores during the year led to an 11.3% drop in physical retail sales to $ 5.13 billion.
This story has been updated with the correct sales for the adult and juvenile categories.