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Sales, earnings up at PRH in 2018

Penguin Random House (PRH) parent company Bertelsmann has reported a slight rise in sales and earnings at the publisher in 2018, with revenue up 1.9% to €3.4 billion ($A5.37bn) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) up 1.3% to €528 million ($A834m), reports the Bookseller.

PRH CEO Markus Dohle said strong sales for Michelle Obama’s Becoming—now approaching 10 million—and ‘substantial’ audiobook growth helped drive revenue, and ‘more than offset’ effects from negative exchange rates. Total digital revenue was up 17% on 2017 results.

Revenue at PRH UK was stable in 2018, with growth recorded in digital formats and license revenues. PRH imprints published 39% of titles appearing on the Sunday Times weekly top 10 bestseller lists, including Becoming, 12 Rules for Life (Jordan Peterson), Jamie Cooks Italy (Jamie Oliver) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown (Jeff Kinney).

In the US, 481 PRH titles made the New York Times bestseller lists, including 69 at number one. Major sellers included the Obama and Peterson titles, as well as The President is Missing (Bill Clinton & James Patterson) and The Reckoning (John Grisham).

At a press conference in Berlin, Dohle confirmed the publisher hopes to publish Barack Obama’s presidential memoir ‘by the end of this year’, with the exact date to be confirmed.

Dohle said audiobooks are the fastest growing format globally, and said the company’s ‘expertise in mature, thriving audio markets in the US, the UK, and Germany’ gives an opportunity to ‘share and scale our experience with colleagues in emerging audio markets, such as Brazil, India and Australia.’

Bertelsmann CEO and chairman Thomas Rabe praised PRH for the globally coordinated release of Becoming, and said it was on track to become ‘the most successful memoir ever’. However, despite the 2018 results, Rabe warned that Brexit will ‘go down in history as one of the most destructive decisions ever’.

‘It has already affected our business, the damage has already been done,’ said Rabe. ‘The pound is devalued, and economic growth in the UK and Europe would be higher without Brexit. There is a significant element of uncertainty, which is very bad for people, especially people working for Bertelsmann.’



Category: International news