Total revenue at Lagardere Publishing was roughly flat in the first six months of 2012, but EBIT fell 20%, to 57 million euros. Sales at the parent company of the HachetteBook Group rose to 905 million euros from 900 million euros, an increase due almost entirely to favorable currency exchange. In the U.S., sales were down 4% which Lagardere attributed to a weaker frontlist than the first half of 2011. Growth in e-book sales also slowed in the U.S., although e-book sales still increased 20% and accounted for 27% of sales in the U.S. in the first half of the year. E-books accounted for 23% of adult sales in the U.K. and 8.4% of all Lagardere Publising revenue in the period.
Lagardere attributed the decrease in profitability mainly to sluggish market conditions, especially in the U.S. and noted that while e-books are more profitable than print titles, for the group as a whole digital sales are not high enough to offset softness in the U.S. and U.K. Although Largardere made no mention of the impact of Hachette’s litigation/settlement charges in the e-book price fixing lawsuits on its first half profitability, results did include some costs.
Lagardere is, however, expecting profitability in the publishing segment to improve in the second half driven by the publication of The Casual Vacancy in the U.S., U.K. and France plus the release of the French translation of Fifty Shades of Grey.