US publishers have breathed a cautious sigh of relief after figures for the first quarter of 2017, point to a general revenue rise.

The rising star of formats continues to be audiobooks, with major publishers investing. In the first three months of 2017, digital audio sales increased by over 28%, while e-book sales fell by 5%. There was growth of 8.2% in hardback books.

Despite this, across the industry revenue was up by 4.9% according to the StatShot report from Association of American Publishers.

Trade books grew in the first quarter of 2017 by about $13 million (0.9%) compared to 2016. Growth was consistent in January, February and March for adult books. There were declines for children, young adult and religious titles.

Higher Education course materials were up by $92 million (24.3%) to $470.2 million in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter in 2016. Revenues for Professional Publishing, which includes business, medical, law, scientific and technical books, were up by $5 million (4.5%) to $119.5 million.