Sales at Bloomsbury Publishing rose 2.5% in the six month period ended August 31, to £43.5 million, but pretax profits fell to £0.9 million from £1.5 million. Bloomsbury said shifts in its product mix that now has more emphasis on the academic and e-book markets is making the second half of the year more important than the first six months. Sales in its trade group were also affected by lower sales of the Harry Potter series and also suffered from the domination of Fifty Shades of Grey. E-book sales across all divisions rose 89% in the year to £4.5 million.
All results exclude Bloomsbury’s German subsidiary which it sold in February.
The U.K.-based publisher restructured earlier this year and no longer reports results by geography, but rather by category. Adult trade was Bloomsbury’s largest segment in the first six months, with sales flat at about £20.1 million. Its top selling titles across the group were Hugh’s Three Good Things, How to Bake and River Cottage Veg Every Day!. Sales in the academic & professional division rose 41%, to £12.3 million, driven by acquisitions; excluding acquisitions sales were down 8%. Among its new purchases was Fairchild Books that Bloomsbury bought for $6.1 million as part of its strategy to expand in the academic space. Declining Potter sales led to a drop in sales in the children’s & educational division to £9.3 million from £12.1 million. Bloomsbury said it has recruited a children’s sales director to start in early 2013 “to ensure a robust sales strategy for an improved list going forward.”
Overall, Bloomsbury said with a strong list an higher e-book sales it hopes to show improvement over the first half of the year