US Book Publisher Revenues to Recede From Pandemic-Induced Highs


Cleveland, OH, July 22, 2022 — US book publisher revenues in nominal terms are forecast to see minimal annual declines through 2026, according to Books: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. Publishers are expected to benefit from disposable income and population growth, which will prevent faster declines. The industry will also see strong growth in digitally downloaded audiobooks. However, the industry saw an unprecedented sales spike in 2021 due to increased textbook purchases by schools, consumers spending more time reading, and stimulus checks propping up disposable income levels. These factors supporting elevated revenue levels are expected to dissipate in 2022, which will cause revenues to return to historical trend. In addition, the number of school-age children is expected to decline, which will reduce sales of children's books. Sales are expected to fall over the forecast period as consumer reading time falls from a pandemic-inflated high. Competition from sellers of used books, including brick-and-mortar used book stores and internet retailers such as Amazon, will also continue to constrain revenues.

As observed over the historical period, the share of sales commanded by new releases is expected to continue declining, as more publishers focus on supporting their backlists. Backlist sales see fewer returns and are generally more profitable for publishers.

These and other key insights are featured in Books: United States. This report forecasts to 2022 and 2026 US books revenues in nominal US dollars. Total revenues are segmented by media type in terms of:

  • print
  • online
  • other media such as CDs and e-books published on physical media

Total revenues are also segmented by market as follows:

  • textbooks
  • professional, technical, and scholarly
  • adult trade
  • children’s
  • general reference

To illustrate historical trends, total revenues and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2011 to 2021.

Publishers who exclusively publish books online are excluded from the scope of this report. Revenues from activities other than book publishing, such as those from the sale or licensing of content rights, subscriptions to databases or other information, or from contract printing by publishers are also excluded.

This report includes the results of a proprietary national online consumer survey of US adults (age 18+). This Freedonia Focus Reports National Survey has a sample size of approximately 1,500, screened for response quality, and representative of the US population on the demographic measures of age, gender, geographic region, race/ethnicity, household income, and the presence/absence of children in the household.

More information about the report is available at: