AAP January 2021 Statshot Report: Publishing Industry up 10.3% for First Month of 2021

Market analysis

Trade (Consumer Book) Sales Up 21.3% in January 2021

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for January 2021 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.

Total revenues across all categories for January 2021 were up 10.3% as compared to January 2020, coming in at $1.2 billion.

Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 21.3% in January, coming in at $689.5 million. 

In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of January, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were up 25.5%, coming in at $244.2 million; Paperbacks were up 17.9%, with $227.5 million in revenue; Mass Market was up 39.9% to $19.5 million; and Board Books were down 3.4%, with $17.2 million in revenue. 

eBook revenues were up 21.0% for the month as compared to January of 2020 for a total of $91.6 million. The Downloaded Audio format was up 17.6% for January, coming in at $59.1 million in revenue. Physical Audio was up 21.8% coming in at $2.0 million.

Religious Presses

Religious press revenues were down 0.5% in January, coming in at $61.7 million. Revenue fell across all tracked formats, with the exception of eBooks which rose 15.3% to $4.5 million.


During January 2021 Education revenues were $462.7 million, down 2.3% compared with January of 2020. 

Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were down 2.6% for the month, as compared to January of 2020, coming in at $429.7 million. 

PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were up 1.6% for January 2021, at $33.0 million. More in-depth information on PreK-12 Books and Materials Monthly is included in AAP’s PreK-12 monthly report.

Professional Books

Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, were up 8.0% during the month, coming in at $51.0 million. 

AAP’s StatShot

Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.

StatShot reports are designed to give an up-to-date snapshot of the publishing industry using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on a year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

It is not, however, possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to StatShot reports issued in previous years because: a) The number of StatShot participants fluctuates over time, with the pool of participants growing or shrinking in each report and b) It is a common accounting practices for businesses, including publishers, to restate revenue numbers based on updated information. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports, providing information that is more up-to-date and accurate.

Source: Association of American Publishers (AAP)