From Publishers Weekly. Link thanks to Nate Hoffelder.

So this just shows that the answer to the Positive or Negative question just depends on where you are standing. Why such a drop in the Professional category? Does this mean there was a huge book in 2016, or does it go to show that professional books are bought to be seen rather than read — if you’re not going into the office there’s no need for conspicuous consumption? Higher Ed course materials we’d have expected to be down: presumably digital materials are included here. Just the other day Pearson UK announced a 500% price increase in ebook prices, which might be seen as a reaction. University presses are down, but their numbers are pretty small, so “down” doesn’t amount to all that much. Cambridge University Press just released a financial report showing that “Sales were £384 million in the period [of 15 months], compared with £336 million in the 12 months of 2019/20” which might be looked at as an advance, or at least not a decline. They attribute the relatively buoyant sales picture to strength in digital sales. They seem to have weathered the storm better than Oxford University Press who report an overall sales decline of 8.6%. OUP’s total turnover was £754.5 million, and print sales were 22% down while digital sales grew by 13%. Maybe their new logo will turn things around!