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Good news all round

26 June 2017

Good news all round this week, with spectacular audiobook sale increases in the US and surprising figures showing that Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries. In the UK children's titles are continuing to outperform the market.

The US Audio Publishers Association estimates that, according to information from responding publishers, audiobook sales revenue in the US in 2016 was an astounding18.2% up on 2015, at $2.1bn, with unit sales up 33.9%.

The AAP's executive director Michele Cobb said that this is the third consecutive year that audiobook sales have increased by nearly 20%. It is evidence, if any were needed, of the continuing rise of mobile - the multifunctionality of which is often cited as the reason that phones are winning in popularity over pure e-readers.

In the UK the figures are still positive, though not so impressive. The Publishers Association's #LoveAudio campaign has just concluded. Nielsen found that in 2016, 5.5m people bought or listened to an audiobook, an increase of 3% over 2014.

About half of US millennials have used a library in the past year. Women, college graduates and parents of minor children are all more likely to use public libraries. Relatively high library use by Millennials might be related to changes that many public libraries have undergone in the past 20 years.

Previous Pew Research Center surveys have documented how extensively people use computers and internet connections at libraries, as well as how interested they are in extra services such as literacy programs for young children, meeting spaces for community groups, and technology "petting zoos" that provide opportunities to explore 3-D printers and other tech gadgetry. The research 

Children's titles continue to outperform the UK market, with Children's Fiction up 6.6% in value in 2017 in the year to date.

For YA, 2016 was a particularly bruising year, with an 8% drop in both volume and value, but 2017 seems to have turned it all around, with YA posting an 8.5% boost in volume and a 6% jump in value for the year to date. This probably relates to bestselling series which also sold in quantity to an adult audience. Almost the entire YA top 10 for the year to date is occupied by either film and TV tie-ins or World Book Day titles.

Textbooks continue to defy the odds in an increasingly digital world. The sector as whole is heading for an eighth successive year of growth - it is up 11% in volume for the year to date, and ahead 12.8% in value. Children's titles continue to outperform market