First quarter sales for the period ended December 28 at Courier Corp. rose 12%, to $72.8 million, compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2013 and net income was up 9%, to $2.6 million. The revenue gain was due to a 14% increase in sales in its manufacturing division while sales in its book publishing division stayed flat at $9.1 million. Earnings rose in the manufacturing group, but the publishing unit still had a loss, albeit smaller than in the same quarter in fiscal 2013.

In its long-struggling publishing group, the loss was cut to $600,000 from $1.1 million. Sales were up at Dover, but down at REA and Creative Homeowner and Courier said it has cut overhead at REA and focused its efforts on test preparation markets such as AP, CLEP and GED. Higher e-book sales as well as better online sales of print books helped improve sales at Dover.

In Courier’s book manufacturing segment, sales to the education market were up 14% from a year earlier, primarily due to increased sales of college textbooks, but with gains at the elementary and high school level as well. Sales to the religious market were up 14%, while sales to the specialty trade market were up 12%, largely reflecting increased demand for digital printing and four-color books.

“All our manufacturing facilities performed well this quarter,” said chairman Jim Conway. “We had a significant rise in four-color work, helped by higher volumes in specialty trade as well as in textbooks. With the recovering economy and the move to Common Core curricula in most states, we are hopeful that the growth in elementary and high school textbook sales over the last two quarters will continue as the year progresses."