Total revenue at Lagardère Publishing rose 2.6% in 2016, to 2.26 billion euros. The increase includes a 70 million euro ($74.6 million) contribution from the Perseus Books Group publishing division, which Hachette Book Group acquired in March.
The strongest performer in the publishing group was the company’s U.K. division, where sales increased 11.0% helped by the success of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Revenue in France increased 1.5%.
The sales improvement for the full year came despite a 2.0% dip in fourth quarter revenue. The drop in the final period was due in part to a 12.4% decline in sales at HBG, which Lagardère said was due to a “less intensive release schedule” compared to the final quarter of 2015. HBG had gains in audiobook sales and in its distribution business.
In a statement, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch said, “Despite the dip in sales in the fourth quarter, Hachette’s excellent publishing paid off beautifully in 2016, with one of our very best years for bestsellers, and two of the year’s biggest awards”—the National Book Award in Nonfiction for Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and the 2016 Caldecott Medal for Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
The major releases driving sales in 2016 include Nicholas Sparks’s Two by Two, David Baldacci’s The Last Mile, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter’s Hamilton: The Revolution, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro’s 15th Affair, Patterson’s Cross the Line, and Michael Connelly’s The Wrong Side of Goodbye.