With sales of print books declining and the growth of e-book sales slowing, Harlequin had declines in sales and earnings in 2013, parent company Torstar reported Wednesday morning. Revenue fell 6.7%, to C$397.7 million, and operating earnings were down 29%, to C$52.0 million.
The decline was due to revenue drops in both Harlequin’s North America and Overseas operations. In North America, sales fell in the retail print and direct-to-consumer channels and growth in digital revenue was “relatively flat” in the year, Torstar said. One reason for the flat digital performance, Torstar said, was increased competition from low-priced books, including those produced by self publishers. Overseas, sales were down in 2013 compared to 2012 as growth in digital revenue was not enough to offset declines in print, with Torstar noting that economic conditions remain challenging in many of its international markets, particularly Europe.Harlequin had restructuring charges of C$4.1 million in 2013 compared to C$1.3 million in 2012.
For the full year, digital revenue accounted for 24.1% of global revenue (C$95 million)compared to 20.7% in 2012 (C$85 million).
Torstar said that, factoring in currency fluctuations, it expects results at Harlequin to be relatively stable in 2014.