Revenue at Lagardère Publishing rose 6.6% in the first quarter ended March 31 compared to the first period of 2012, with sales up to 419 million euros. Sales were driven by a strong performance at its U.S. subsidiary, Hachette Book Group, where revenue in the quarter increased 14.9%. HBG had a string of bestsellers in the quarter, including books by James Patterson, David Baldacci and Brad Meltzer. E-book sales did well in the quarter and accounted for 34% of trade book sales at the end of the period, up from 30 a year ago.

E-book sales also were strong in the U.K. and accounted for 31% of adult net sales in the quarter compared to 24% in the first quarter of 2012. For all of Lagardere, e-book sales accounted for 12.4% of sales, up from 9.5% a year ago.

In highlights from other divisions, in France, business activity was up 8.9%, due mainly to the 40% increase in General Literature, which was boosted by the release of the last two installments of the Fifty Shades trilogy, the biography of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the latest novel by Grégoire Delacourt. Activity was stable in the United Kingdom/Commonwealth ( down 0.2%), with ongoing difficulties internationally (Australia and New Zealand) offset by strong General Literature sales in the United Kingdom.

Business activity in Spain/Latin America is slightly up (+1.5%) with the ongoing economic crisis in Spain offset by strong sales in Latin America.

Excluding the negative impact of foreign exchange, sales at the publishing division rose 7.9%.