Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 30, 2016

Book: Print and Ebook Sales Report

Accepting illustrations for July 4th post.

Send to Kathy(dot)temean@gmail(dot)com

Put July 4th in the subject area. Thanks!


I’m inspired to pack up for the beach after seeing this illustration from Nancy Armo. She is a former art director at Hewlett-Packard. She recently moved to Long Island, NY with her family where there are lots of moles happily digging in her garden, which inspired her latest book A FRIEND FOR MOLE, which she wrote and illustrated. Nancy was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link. You can find Nancy at:, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Yesterday, Publisher Marketplace reported information on Book Sales (Print and ebook)from AAP and Nielsen Bookscan: 

Two months behind their normal schedule, the AAP released a StatShot report with sales statistics from their roughly 1,200 reporting publishers for the month of January 2016. Their data for the reporting group shows a weak start to 2016.

Overall trade sales of $450.6 million down almost $79 million, or 14.9 percent, from $529.5 million a year ago.

Adult sales were down more in dollars, at $338.9 million, down 50.3 million.

Children’s and young adult sales were down more in percentage terms, at $111.7 million down 13.6 percent (or $28.6 million).

Hardcover sales fell in both segments: Adult hardcovers were $78.9 million (down from $96.9 million)

Children’s hardcovers were $45.3 million (down from $65 million).

eBook sales fell more, down 25 percent to $96.7 million. But it’s important to remember that January 2015 was the best ebook sales month of that year.

Children’s/YA ebooks were already in sharp decline, on the lack of young adult crossover hits.

Adult ebooks ebbed for months and then tailed off sharply in September after Penguin Random House was the last big house to return to full agency.

Looked at on a month-by-month basis, the January ebook numbers are in line with or slightly ahead of the trend from the fourth quarter of 2015. On the positive side, digital audio continued the strong growth shown last year, at $19.4 million up 30 percent (or $4.5 million) for the month.

The picture painted by the AAP account diverges rather significantly from Nielsen Bookscan statistics for the same month. While the reporting AAP publishers are down 9.4 percent in dollar shipments to accounts (the total decline for the month of 14.9 percent reflects higher returns as well as lower new shipments), Nielsen showed positive sell-through at retail, with printed unit sales up 7 percent in January. While hardcover shipments are down significantly for the AAP publishers, Nielsen hardcover sales to consumers were up, by 9.8 percent.

The reports diverge because they are measuring different things. The AAP is tabulating dollar sales only, for both print and digital, and publisher dollar sales at that: shipments to account, minus returns (and January includes at least some post-holiday returns), except for ebooks. Nielsen Bookscan is counting print sales only, and consumer point-of-sale purchases at that. So there could be a number of factors at work in the discrepancies, including: A continuing shift of dollars from ebooks to print; better sales for books from publishers that do not report monthly to the AAP such as Sourcebooks, Quarto, Sterling, etc. (and in particular publishers of coloring books); the effect of holiday returns to publishers, and post-holiday markdowns at retail; etc.

Monthly eBook Sales

1/16 Adult: $88.1 million Children’s: $8.6 million
12/15 Adult: $80.2 million Children’s: $8.6 million
11/15 Adult: $88.8 million Children’s: $9.2 million
10/15 Adult: $83.6 million Children’s: $8.1 million
9/15 Adult: $100.6 million Children’s: $8 million
8/15 Adult: $107 million Children’s: $10.3 million
7/15 Adult: $104.5 million Children’s: $10.5 million
6/16 Adult: $103.4 million Children’s: $10.7 million
5/16 Adult: $96.2 million Children’s: $10.4 million
4/15 Adult: $108.5 million Children’s: $11.7 million
3/15 Adult: $97.8 million Children’s: $11.9 million
2/15 Adult: $104 million Children’s: $13 million
1/15 Adult: $113.3 million Children’s: $15.7 million

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Love the illustration! 🙂


  2. Thank you for the information! I actually didn’t know how much book sales were declining. Also, adorable illustration!


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