Publishers Lunch reports that after a flatter overall trade market in March, the AAP numbers for April are the first to reap the benefits of big sales from EL James' FIFTY SHADES OF GREY TRILOGY, though the numbers have much more to do with cleaner returns (and getting past the Borders bankruptcy) rather than an outright improvement in sales. Net trade sales from reporting publishers totaled $386.4 million for the month, a big $33.8 million ahead of the revised total for April 2011. Net children's and young adult sales jumped from $97.2 million a year ago to $120.9 million this year.
Adult ebook sales registered $92 million, lower than both trade paperback sales (at $131.2 million) and hardcovers ($126.2 million), and up about a third compared to adult ebook sales of $66.7 million a year ago. The trade paperback numbers bear considerable attention because of FIFTY SHADES, up 9 percent compared to a year ago with returns also down by about a third. Children's/YA ebook sales, however, were a more modest $7.5 million, compared to $5.8 million a year ago, which suggests the big March ebook numbers in this category ($19.3 million) are, at least for now, an outsized figure, though it's still too soon to say if that blip was entirely attributed to big HUNGER GAMES ebook sales.
Overall, ebooks comprised 19.6 percent of trade sales for month, comprising 23.8 percent of adult sales and 11.6 percent of children's sales. And for the first four months in 2012, children's and YA sales are up 38.6 percent at $562 million and adult sales are up 3.3 percent, at $1.345 million. Total ebook sales of $435.9 million are up approximately 29 percent versus 2011.