Following a record performance in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2023, Bloomsbury Publishing posted a record first six months of fiscal 2024. Sales were up 11%, to £136.7 million (about $166 million at current exchange rates), and pre-tax profit rose 8%, to £14 million, in the period ended August 30, 2023.

The sales gain was led by Bloomsbury’s consumer division, its largest, where revenue rose 17%, to £89.3 million. The company said that fantasy “is a huge and increasingly popular genre,” pointing to sales spikes for Sarah J. Maas and Samantha Shannon of 79% and 169%, respectively, in the period. Demand for Harry Potter books also remained strong.

Riding the success of Maas and Potter, sales in the children’s group jumped 22% in the first half of fiscal 2024, to £61.7 million. The popularity of Shannon, whose A Day of Fallen Night hit bestseller lists in the U.S., helped lift sales in the adult division by 8%, to £27.6 million.

In Bloomsbury’s non-consumer division, revenue grew 2%, to £47.3 million. Sales in that division’s largest segment, academic and professional, were flat, at £36.4 million. Bloomsbury said within that group, digital sales accelerated, with e-book revenue up 23% in the period.

Among Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton’s top priorities has been to expand the U.K.-based publisher’s international presence, and overseas revenue accordingly accounted for 76% of total sales in the first six months, up from 73% in the first half of fiscal 2023. Sales in the U.S., helped by the acquisition of ABC-CLIO in December 2021, accounted for 46% (approximately $76 million) of all first half sales, up from 36% a year ago.

Bloomsbury’s U.S. business suffered a devastating blow this summer with the death of Adrienne Vaughan in a boating accident. Bloomsbury paid tribute to her in its report: “Adrienne was a natural business leader with a great future ahead of her. She was deeply loved by colleagues due to her combination of great personal warmth with a fierce determination to make the business succeed and grow. Her business instincts were outstanding and she loved authors, readers and her colleagues equally. Our hearts go out to Adrienne’s husband and children, parents, family and friends. Bloomsbury continues to do everything possible to support them.”