Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Bloomsbury announces salary reductions, issues shares in response to Covid-19

Bloomsbury Australia’s parent company in the UK has asked the majority of employees to take a pay cut for three months, while Friday afternoons will be paid time off for all staff, as part of the company’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Bookseller reports that the publisher is also issuing ‘close to four million shares to generate £8.4 million in extra cash in wake of the impact of coronavirus on its print book orders’. The publisher also said it was applying for government schemes in the UK, US and Australia to support staff and businesses.

In a statement on its website, Bloomsbury outlined the cost-saving measures it is currently undertaking, including salary reductions, a recruitment freeze, furloughing of staff in the UK and ‘reducing discretionary spend to a minimum, including marketing and non-essential capital expenditure’.

‘The extent to which the coronavirus crisis will impact our business will depend on the changing positions of our major wholesale print and digital customers, academic institutions and the duration of government lockdowns and restrictions and in particular their impact on retailers and academic institutions,’ said the company. ‘Our strategy of expanding and leveraging our digital rights and products means that we are well placed to benefit from increased demand for our digital resources, audio and ebooks.’

However, print book sales accounted for 79% of the company’s revenue last year, and a ‘prudent downside scenario’ modelled by the publisher estimated print revenues could fall by 75%.

Bloomsbury said it had balanced its cost-saving measures with ‘with being able to retain staff and acquire new titles, as the company’s business model is to commission titles one to two years ahead of publication’.

According to the publisher, ‘These actions, combined with our strong net cash position, will safeguard the interests of all shareholders and best position Bloomsbury for future opportunities.’


Category: Local news