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Hachette US and UK sales drop in 2015

Hachette parent company Lagardere Publishing has reported a rise in sales for 2015, despite a drop in sales at Hachette US and UK that was attributed to declining ebook sales. Overall, Lagardere Publishing’s 2015 sales rose 10.1% on a reported basis to €2.21bn (A$3.51bn), which was attributed to ‘excellent performance in France in illustrated books and general literature’, and growth in educational publishing in Spain and from its Partworks serialised-publications. Lagardere reported that volumes of print books in the UK and US had rebounded ‘to the detriment of ebooks, due to new contract terms with Amazon’. Hachette US posted ‘stable’ sales for 2015 (-0.3%), with increasing print book sales offsetting the decline of ebooks. US digital sales accounted for 22% of trade sales in 2015, compared to 26% in 2014. Hachette UK’s 3.3% sales drop was also put down to falling ebook sales (dropping to 26% for adult trade titles in 2015 from 31% in 2014), as well as a slower nonfiction release schedule compared to 2014. In comparison, Lagardere saw sales increase 5.5% in France in 2015. The ‘sustained increase’ was primarily in the general literature segment, due to bestsellers such as the French edition of 50 Shades of Grey (E L James), and the illustrated books segment, due to adult colouring books and the latest volume of Asterix. The success of Asterix was also cited as a reason for the ‘good performance’ of Lagardere’s Spain and Latin America divisions (+7.5%). Speaking to the Bookseller, Hachette UK CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson said that while ebooks had slowed after ‘six years of stratospheric growth’, the company was still the ‘number one publisher in e-books’. ‘In the year, Hachette UK’s estimated market share rose by 1% to 22% of the e-book market. Digital sales now represent over 20% of HUK’s total sales,’ said Hutchinson.

 

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