Bloomsbury profits up 9% in 2019
Bloomsbury’s full-year financial report to the end of February 2020 shows the publisher’s revenues for the year increased from £162.7m to £162.8m, with profits up by 9% to £15.7m (from £14.4m). ‘Consumer revenues were down marginally to £96.8m (from £99.3m), and its non-consumer business was up by 4% to £66m (from £63.4m),’ the Bookseller reports.
In the Australasia region—which accounts for 9% of Bloomsbury’s total revenue—overall consumer revenue fell marginally, from £9.03m (A$16.76m) to £8.8m (A$16.34m) last year, led by a drop in children’s sales, which was down from £6.59m (A$12.23m) to £5.77m (A$10.71m). Adult sales rose from £2.45m (A$4.55m) to £3.06m (A$5.68m).
Bloomsbury Australia managing director Liz Bray told Books+Publishing: ‘It was a terrific year for Bloomsbury Australia with outstanding successes in the consumer adult division particularly, including new books from Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett and William Dalrymple as well as the bestselling Three Women and Such a Fun Age.’
While the full-year report does not cover the period since the global Covid-19 lockdown, the Bookseller reports that the publisher’s revenue since the global pandemic has fallen by only 3%, print revenues are at 87% of last year’s sales and academic digital revenues up by over 52% for the period from March to April 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Bloomsbury also reported that ebook revenue was up 33% in the two months to April 2020 with sales driven in early March.
This paints ‘a better than expected picture of current trading’, noted the Bookseller, ‘and is in line with anecdotal reports from other large publishing groups, where sales have generally held up better than expected at the beginning of the lockdown’.
Bloomsbury itself has modestly revised its previous estimate that print sales could fall by as much as 75%, now saying it expects print revenues could be reduced by 60%–65% for the three months, with the revision due to better than expected trading in March and April. According to the Bookseller, Bloomsbury said the £8.4m capital the company raised in April would be used for ‘future growth opportunities, should this downside not materialise’.
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