Hachette parent company Lagardère reported sales of 903 million euros for the first half of 2014, a 1.5% decline sales reported for the same period in 2013. In the U.S., despite its dispute with Amazon, Hachette Book Group revenue rose 5.6% over sales in the first half of 2013, growth credited to the integration of Hyperion titles acquired from Disney and adding Disney’s distribution business.
Lagardère credited the U.S. revenue gains to “good performances in General Literature” noting the publication of R. Galbraith/J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm, reorders for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor and the film release of The Monuments Men, which boosted sales of Robert Edsel’s eponymous book. HBG also noted strong U.S. half year sales for James Patterson’s Unlucky 13, David Baldacci’s The Target, Nicholas Sparks The Longest Ride, and T.D. Jakes Instinct.
In remarks that appeared to allude to the dispute with Amazon, CEO Michael Pietsch said “It is gratifying to have first half sales that exceed last year’s, especially in light of recent market challenges.”
Lagardère blamed the overall sales decline of 1% over the first half on “a tough comparison” to the first half of 2013, particularly in France, where Fifty Shades of Gray (volumes 2 and 3) and Dan Brown’s Inferno generated strong sales.
E-books were 11.3% of total sales in the first half of 2014, identical to the same period last year. In the U.S. digital sales dropped from 34% to 29% of total trade sales in the first half of the year, reflecting a year with “fewer movie-ties compared to 2013, and Amazon’s punitive action.” In the U.K., e-books still showed sustained growth, with 36% of net sales in adult trade vs. 31% at the end of June 2013.
Looking ahead to Fall 2014, HBG will release Gus & Me by Keith Richards, Shouldn’t you Be In School by Lemony Snicket, Death of a King by Tavis Smiley, Burn by James Patterson, and The Burning Room by Michael Connelly.