By Adedapo Adesanya
Book publishing sales in March saw a decline of 8.4 percent due to the impact of COVID-19, which resulted into shortfalls in some segments of the book industry.
According to the latest report by the AAP StatShot program, the industry’s comprehensive statistical analysis of how content is produced and sold through the eyes of publishers, the figure arose from evaluation of 1,361 publishers.
According to the figures, only adult books and children/young adult categories had gains of 3.5 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. However, all other categories had sales declines.
The K-12 (Kindergarten to 12th Grade) instructional materials segment had the largest decline, with sales falling 50.6 percent as many schools closed during the month.
Book sales in the professional books and university presses categories both had declines of just over 21 percent.
Sales in the religious books/materials category fell 15.6 percent and dropped 8.5 percent in the higher educational course materials category.
In the adult trade segment, hardcover sales were solid, up 6.8 percent in March, while much smaller mass market paperback format saw sales shoot up 72.3 percent.
On the other hand, trade paperback sales dipped 1.8 percent, while downloadable audio sales rose 12.9 percent over March 2019.
E-book sales did not show any signs of increasing in March. Sales from reporting publishers were down 7.1 percent in the month.
In children/young adult, sales of paperback books rose 7.5 percent in the month, offsetting a 7.5 percent decline of hardcovers.
Board book sales rose 9.1 percent. Digital sales had strong gains, with downloadable audio revenue up 46.6 percent in March and e-book sales rose 22 percent.
Year-on-year, the first quarter of 2020, industry sales rose 0.3 percent over the comparable period in 2019.
Also, the children/young adult segment sales rose 4.4 percent, sales of adult tiles increased 3.3 percent but the K-12 segment had the largest decline, with sales falling 24 percent.
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