Despite a soft fourth quarter, McGraw-Hill Education reported strong gains in earnings in 2010 on a modest sales increase. Total revenue in the year rose 1.9%, to $2.4 billion, while operating income jumped 31.7%, to $363.4 million. In the fourth quarter, sales dropped 4.6% and profits fell 51.7%. The revenue gain in 2010 was driven by the higher education/professional/international group where sales increased 3.8%, to $1.3 billion. Revenue in the school group was flat at $1.1 billion.

The higher education/professional/international group benefited from growing enrollments in the U.S. college market and strong sales of digital products and services, parent company McGraw-Hill Cos. said. For 2010, all four of the higher education group's major product lines--Humanities, Social Sciences and Languages; Science, Engineering and Math; Business and Economics; and Career Education--had sales gains. In professional publishing, MHC said the product mix continued to shift from print to digital. Sales of digital products to retail and professional markets in science, medicine, and technology grew at a double-digit rate in the fourth quarter and for the year. By the end of 2010, MHE had approximately 6,000 e-book titles.

The best-selling professional publishing e-books in 2010 were Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High, Security Analysis, 6th Edition, Presentation Secrets, Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2010, 49th Edition, and How to Talk to Anyone.

In international markets, revenue declined in the fourth quarter, but was up slightly for the year. Both Asia and India benefited from growth in English-language training sales.

In the school group, sales to open territories fell as did testing sales which offset sales gains to adoption states.