Bloomsbury Publishing reported record sales and earnings for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2022. Sales were up 24% over fiscal 2021, rising to £230.1 million ($277 million), and profits increased 40%, to £26.7 million ($32.2 million).
In remarks accompanying the release of its financial report, Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton said that the surge in reading during the pandemic, an increase he believes will continue, was an important factor in boosting sales, as was an increase in digital sales. Three acquisitions in the year contributed £17.4 million to the revenue gain. The company also continued to expand its overseas sales in the year, and noted that the U.S. now accounts for about 30% of its total revenue.
Sales in Bloomsbury’s consumer group rose 25%, to £148.2 million, and non-consumer sales increased 23%, to £81.9 million. Within the consumer group, sales in the adult division rose 26%, to £55.2 million, and sales in the children’s division increased 25%, to £93.0 million. Adult sales were driven by a string of bestsellers, which in the U.S. included The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. During the year, Bloomsbury authors brought home a bevy of prizes: Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Winfred Rembert and Erin I. Kelly won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography, and Susanna Clarke won the Women’s Prize.
The increase in the children’s group was led by an 86% increase in sales of Sarah J. Maas’s new and backlist titles, while sales of the Harry Potter titles increased by 5%. Bloomsbury said it has a host of new marketing activities planned for 2022 to mark the 25th anniversary of the original publication of the first book in the Harry Potter series.
Sales in the non-consumer division, which consists of the academic and professional unit (including Bloomsbury Digital Resources), increased 23%, to £81.9 million. The group benefited from the December 2021 acquisition of California-based ABC-CLIO and the purchase of the U.K.’s Red Globe Press, which contributed £8.4 million to group revenue. Sales at BDR rose 50% in the year, and digital sales accounted for 21.7% of all Bloomsbury revenue, up from 20.4% in fiscal 2021.
The company said that one of its priorities for fiscal 2023 is to accelerate the growth of its digital properties as part of its strategy of lessening its dependence on the consumer market. International expansion also remains a goal. The company did not provide a detailed account of its financial projections for the new fiscal year, noting only that business in the first quarter is meeting expectations.