Sales of print books took a beating at John Wiley in the first quarter ended July 31, 2016. The biggest decline was in the higher education segment, where sales of printed textbooks dropped 31% from the comparable period last year. Wiley said the decline “reflects the continued weakness in overall textbook demand and further share gain in textbook rental.”
Along with the decline in print textbooks, Wiley saw sales of digital textbooks fall 14% in the quarter. Revenue for the entire higher education group fell 14% in the quarter, to $73.8 million.
In Wiley’s professional development group sales of print books declined 13%, to $41.5 million. Nonetheless, the format represented 43% of all revenue for the group in the quarter. Sales of digital books rose 7% in the quarter. Total revenue in the group declined 2%, to $96.1 million, with growth in corporate learning (20%) and online test preparation (23%) offsetting most of the drop in print book sales.
In Wiley’s largest group, research, first quarter revenue rose 2%, to $234.4 million. Results were driven by 4% growth in journal revenue, offsetting a 12% decline in the books and reference revenue; sales of print books fell 17%, to $18.6 million, while sales of digital books were flat.
For the entire company, revenue in the quarter was down 4%, to $404.3 million, while net income fell 4%, to $31.0 million. Wiley said it still expects revenue for fiscal 2017 to be flat with fiscal 2016, and earnings per share to fall by mid-single digits.
Wiley reached an agreement to acquire Atypon, a publishing-software and service provider based in Santa Clara, Calif., for $120 million. The company develops software that enables scholarly societies and publishers to deliver, host, enhance, market, and manage their content on the web. It had revenue of over $31 million in 2015. The transaction is expected to close October 1, Wiley said.