February AAP Book Sales Report

There’s no denying that the publishing industry is in a state of flux. Self-publishing continues to take over a larger share of the book market while longtime publishing houses are shutting their doors and the death rattle of Borders is still echoing through the sales figures. Back in 2011, the Association of American Publishers reported, much as we expected, although e-book sales were growing, they didn’t balance the falling print book sales. Thankfully, the AAP’s newly released report shows that the tide is turning.

AAP's Monthly StatShot gives us a look into the sales figures for February 2012 and it is full of encouraging news. Sales of adult books in print are up by 6.9% compared to last February. And despite the fact that sales of paperbacks decreased by 3.3%, the statistics show that the same can not be said for hardcover sales. These sales increased by 24.4%. Additionally, while adult e-book sales figures only show an increase of 9.9% since the same period in 2011, this has much more to do with the fact that last year's February's e-book sales numbers were “abnormally high,” due to what Publishers Weekly calls “a one-off retail revenue transaction report that updated the February 2011 e-book sales figures.” Thus the percentage increase that looks relatively small is actually more a reflection of last year’s abnormally high sales rather than diminished sales this year.

It is the change in children's/YA book sales that are really making industry insiders take note. Total February 2012 sales in this category were up an impressive 73% compared to last year during the same month. Children's book paperback and hardcover sales both rose more than 60%. However, the big news is the astonishing jump of e-sales in this division. These e-book sales are up by 177.8% compared to last year’s figures at the same time.

While It is hard to get a clear look at book buying trends to by comparing sales figures on a month-to-month basis; certainly some overall trends can be spotted and what we are seeing is a robust book buying market.

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