Total revenue at John Wiley & Sons fell 5% in the fiscal year ended April 30, 2016, compared to fiscal 2015. Operating income in the year dropped 21%. Revenue finished the year at $1.73 billion and income was $188.1 million. The negative impact of foreign currency, as well as a change in the method of recording journal subscriptions, accounted for some of the decline.
The company said earnings were also hurt by continued investment in transitioning to a “digital knowledge and learning company.” Revenues were also negatively affected by more declines in sales of print books.
Digital products and services accounted for 63% of total revenue in fiscal 2016, up from 60% in the prior year, while print books accounted for 23% of revenue, down from 25% in fiscal 2015.
In Wiley’s professional development group, which houses what is left of the company’s trade line, big gains in the year were posted by its corporate learning operations (up 31%) and online test preparation (up 27%), offsetting a 4% decline in print books.
During the year, Wiley consolidated its book business and moved the U.S. distribution part of the operation to Cengage Learning. “Our objective is to make our books business smaller as we focus our portfolio on high value digital learning and reference content,” CEO Mark Allin said in a conference call with analysts.
The company predicted that continued investment in digital products and infrastructure will result in a decline in earnings per share in fiscal 2017, while revenue is expected to be flat with fiscal 2016.