The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has released its figures for the month of July. Aside from a bump in hardcover numbers, the same trends we have seen all year are visible: print down and e-books surging. As always, the AAP figures come with a health warning. Only a very limited number of houses report, and you should hesitate before drawing hard-and-fast conclusions, especially with regard to the raw revenue numbers. However, it’s useful to look at the trends, which are confirmed by more comprehensive sources. The figures in the table below are in millions of dollars.
I have a confession to make. I’ve never really liked hardbacks. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like looking at them. I like touching them. I like holding them. I think they are beautiful objects. I just don’t like reading from them, they are cumbersome, heavy, uncomfortable to read when lying down, and difficult to lug from place to place. And they are expensive. The cloth cover, acid-free paper, and pristine dust-jacket all cost money. When the publisher factors in storage, delivery, and returns, as well as all those free copies for reviewers and promotions, there are a lot of costs they have to pass on to the reader.