Led by the general books division, HarperCollins annual revenues rose to $1.34 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, a slight increase over the $1.31 billion reported in fiscal 2006. Operating income for fiscal 2007 declined by $8 million, to $159 million, and operating margin dropped to 11.8% from 12.7% in fiscal 2006.
Despite the drop in full-year operating income, HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman was upbeat, noting $21 million in operating income in the fourth quarter, a $27-million increase over the same period in fiscal 2006. “I’m very happy with where we ended,” she said.
Friedman declined to break out specific figures for each division, but said the fourth-quarter rebound was driven by such bestsellers as The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Reagan Diaries. She also noted strong sales for Marley and Me by John Grogan, Sidney Poitier’s The Measure of a Man and Michael Crichton’s Next. She said the children’s division was strong and noted that a second C.S. Lewis film is slated to arrive in spring 2008. Despite continuing “difficulties” in the Christian market, Friedman noted that “Zondervan is on the way back,” after a poor showing in 2006, and had sold more than 300,000 copies of Inspired By... The Bible Experience, an audiobook version of the New Testament.
Friedman was also bullish on the large-print unit HarperLuxe, joking that it offers “the format of choice for the boomer generation.” And she noted “strong titles” coming in the new fiscal year, including Ann Patchett’s new novel, Run (Oct.); Ike: An American Hero (Aug.) by Michael Korda; and Ana’s Story by the president’s daughter Jenna Bush, a nonfiction work about Panamanian girl living with HIV.
And Friedman said she was “encouraged” by parent company News Corp.’s acquisition of the Wall Street Journal. “We work well with other parts of News Corp.,” she said, pointing to Fox and MySpace.com. Pointing out that WSJ-branded books were published by several publishers, she said, “I look forward to working with [WSJ]. We’ll let the deal close and when we know more, we’ll let everyone else know our plans.”