Lagardere reported that revenue for its publishing operations rose 1.9% in 2012 to 2.08 billion euros, with France turning in the strongest performance. In the U.S., sales for the full year dropped 3.4% at Hachette Book Group despite a 1.2% increase in units. HBG said the difference reflects the continued shift to digital as e-books generate less revenue than print. Net sales from digital products in 2012 – e-books plus downloadable audio – totaled 26% of overall HBG revenue in 2012 compared with 23% in 2011. Lagardere will release profit figures in March.
Lagardere noted that while digital books now make up 7.7% of net sales, growth has slowed in the U.S. where e-book revenue increased 15%. E-book sales in the U.K. continued to grow at a much rapid rate. E-book sales are less than 2% of sales in France and other countries, Lagardere said.
In the U.S. HBG had 71 titles hit the New York Times eBook bestseller chart in 2012. On the print side of the list HBG had 214 New York Times bestsellers last year, beating the company’s record of 182 bestsellers set in 2011. Key HBG titles driving sales last year include The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks, Private Games by James Patterson, Cross Roads by William Paul Young, and The Innocent by David Baldacci.