Third quarter sales at Lagardere Publishing fell 5.2% in the third quarter, to 601 million euros, with sales off 8% in the U.S. and 10% in the U.K. Excluding currency fluctuations sales fell 2.5%. The decline at the U.S. Hachette Book Group division was attributed to increased sales of lower-priced e-books and the impact of the Borders bankruptcy. E-books accounted for 21% of HBG’s revenue through the first nine months of the year, compared to 9% in the same period in 2010.
Lagardere said while higher e-book sales contributed to lower revenue, they provide a higher margin, although the company provided no earnings in the quarterly trading update. Lagardere has been struggling with sales comparisons to last year’s Stephenie Meyer boom, and said excluding Meyer, publishing sales were up 0.6% and noted that the Meyer comparison began to ease toward the end of the third period.
Total revenue for the first nine months of 2011 fell 6.7%, to 1.50 billion euros.