Benefiting from a boost in licensing revenue, sales in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade division rose 10.6% in 2018 over 2017, hitting $199.7 million. The group, now known as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media, posted net earnings of $2.4 million, compared to a net loss of $2.0 million in 2017. Sales and earnings for 2017 have been restated.
According to parent company HMH, the roughly $19 million increase in sales in the trade division was due to new licensing deals for 1984 and Animal Farm and new licensing revenue associated with the new Netflix original series, Carmen Sandiego. In addition to higher licensing revenue, the trade group also had good sales for its Little Blue Truck and Whole 30 series, plus strong sales of Instant Pot Miracle. The increase in print sales was partially offset by a drop in e-book sales.
For the entire company, revenue dipped 0.3%, to $1.32 billion, from $1.33 billion in 2017. The company’s net loss was reduced to $90.5 million last year from $135.1 million in 2017.
Sales in HMH’s education group declined 1.7%, to $1.11 billion, from $1.33 billion in 2017. HMH said that within the education segment, the revenue decrease was primarily due to lower sales from its Core Solutions business, which saw sales drop in subject areas where textbooks and related materials were “reaching the end of their product lifecycle that are scheduled to be replaced next year with newer programs.”
Also during the year, HMH sold its Riverside standardized testing business. Results from that group were excluded from figures in both 2017 and 2018.
In prepared remarks, both CEO Jack Lynch and CFO Joe Abbott said that overall results in 2018 showed that the company was making progress in executing its long-term strategy to return the publisher to profitability.