U.K.-based Bloomsbury reported better than expected financial results for the six-month period ended August 31, 2020, compared to a year ago. Revenue rose 10%, to £78.3 million, and pre-tax profits jumped to £3.0 million from £1.3 million a year ago.
Bloomsbury attributed the improvement to “significantly higher” online and e-book sales. Total digital sales soared 55.7% in the first half of fiscal 2021, to £17.7 million, and accounted for 22.5% of all sales in the period up from 15.8% in the first six months of 2020. Print sales increased 1.8%.
Bloomsbury’s consumer division drove the gains, with revenue up 17%, to £48.6 million. Sales in the non-consumer group slipped by less than 1%, to £29.7 million, as gains in digital products were offset by declines of print books. Within the consumer division, sales in the adult group increased 16%, to £18.8 million, and sales in the children’s division increased 18%, to £29.8 million.
Among Bloomsbury’s frontlist bestsellers in the period in the consumer group were Sarah J. Maas’ Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood and White Rage by Carol Anderson, both of which hit bestseller lists in the U.K. and U.S. Bloomsbury has a large presence in the U.S., but it did not break down results by geographic location.
In releasing its six-month results, Bloomsbury said sales continued to grow in the first six weeks of the second half of the fiscal year. Still, the company was reluctant to predict how it will finish fiscal 2021. “We are confident about the future of publishing. The short-term is difficult to predict because of the pandemic,” the company wrote.