Lagardere reported Thursday afternoon that total revenue in its publishing group fell 3.4% in the first six months of 2010, to 975 million euros ($1.24 billion), while EBIT fell about 10% to 101 million euros. The decline in both sales and earnings was mainly due to the strong worldwide sale of the Stephenie Meyer titles throughout much of 2009. Although Lagardere did not break out sales by individual group, the company reported the revenue in North America accounted for 25% (about $310 million) of worldwide sales in 2010, down from 27% in the first six months of 2009.
Lagardere did not release figures on how the publishing group did excluding the Meyer titles, but noted that sales in 2010 were 6.5% ahead of the first six months of 2008. Hachette Book Group USA noted that it is on pace to have a record number of bestsellers this year and that e-book sales were up 280% over the first six months of 2009.
While HBG has a strong fall book lineup—with books from, among others, Jon Stewart, Keith Richards, Nicholas Sparks, Amy Sedaris, James Patterson and David Baldacci--Lagardere warned that second half comparisons for the publishing group in general will be tough and for the U.S. will be “very tough” given the strength of Meyer sales last year. Overall, Lagardere said it expects worldwide publishing EBIT to fall more in the second half of 2010 than the 10% decline posted in the first half.