Penguin Random House posted total revenue of 1.46 billion euros in the first half of 2014 and operating EBITDA of 159 million euros, parent company Bertelsmann reported Friday morning. With the inclusion of results from Penguin, sales and earnings rose 59.7% and 21.4%, respectively, over the first half of 2013. (In 2013, Penguin had sales of 513 million pounds and operating profit of 28 million pounds). PRH CEO Markus Dohle, in his letter to employees, called the performance “solid.”
Sales were led by PRH’s worldwide children’s operation which in turn benefited from the 5.7 million copies sold of The Fault in Our Stars in the six month period, more than 4 million of which were sold in North American. Other strong children’s sellers included various Frozen and Lego books, and the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid, while If I Stay and Where She Went helped drive sales in July and August.
Both Dohle and Bertelsmann also noted that during the first six months the integration of Penguin and Random House made good progress with Bertelsmann terming the integration process to be “on track.” The combination of Penguin and Random House has resulted in making more than 80,000 e-books available and e-book sales for all of PRH were over 20% of total revenue. Bertelsmann noted that during the first half of the year, it strengthened its core businesses and among the actions it pointed to was the PRH purchase of Santillana Ediciones Generales. At the same time, Bertelsmann noted, it took steps to downsize its presence in “declining businesses” and here pointed to its announcement to get out of the book club business in Germany and Spain.
Dohle closed out his letter by listing a string of books from major authors due out the rest of the year (from Atwood to Yancey) and urged PRH employees to “finish this year strongly by continuing to publish the kinds of books readers can’t put down, the ones they tell everyone they know about, the ones that will spark in young people the love of reading that we share.”