Hachette Livre is the world’s third-largest trade book publisher for the general public and educational markets, and it is the largest publisher in France. Hachette Livre (or Lagardère Publishing) is a subsidiary of Lagardère Media, the holding company for Lagardère’s media operations.
In 2015 the group published 17,965 new titles under more than 150 imprints, including the French trade publishing houses Grasset, Fayard, Stock, Calmann-Lévy and Lattès. Hachette Livre is the leading educational publisher in France, with Hachette Éducation and the Alexandre Hatier group. Hachette UK held 12.7% of the UK’s trade print book market and is the second-largest publisher in the country. Hachette UK is comprised of six divisions: Octopus (illustrated books); Orion; Hodder & Stoughton; Headline; Little, Brown (general literature); and Hachette Children’s Books in the Youth Works segment. Hachette Livre Spain became the third-largest publisher in Spain when Santillana was acquired by Penguin Random House, and is the leading publisher of textbooks through Anaya and Bruño. In the United States, Hachette Book Group is the fourth-largest trade book publisher due to imprints such as Grand Central Publishing; Little, Brown and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; FaithWords; Orbit; Twelve; and Mulholland.
Hachette Livre is present either directly or indirectly in more than 70 countries, and is particularly active in China and Russia, with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group, PPMG, and a 49% share in Atticus.
Analysis & Key Developments
Lagardère sales increased from 2 billion EUR in 2014 to 2.21 billion EUR in fiscal 2015. Hachette Livre benefited from the upturn in its markets, particularly in France, where the division outperformed the market and won seven of the country’s most prestigious literary awards.
Illustrated Books continued to sell very well, particularly cookbooks and a new Asterix album. These successes more than offset the persistent lethargy in the Education segment, though the United Kingdom and Spain education markets remained buoyant. Hachette UK also made gains with excellent performances from several publishers that were acquired in 2014.
Education sales accounted for 16% of total sales, the same figure as 2014. Illustrated books comprised 17%, up from 15% in 2014. Partworks represented 11%, down from 12% in 2014, and other sales were 16% were (17% in 2014).
In early 2016, Hachette announced it would buy the publishing arm of Perseus through its US Hachette Book group, while Perseus’ distribution and fulfillment division Constellation would be acquitted by Ingram. The deal had first been attempted 18 months earlier. Perseus’ revenues will be consolidated into the balance sheet of Hachette for 2016.
Hachette Livre began a partnership with Knewton in January 2016 to develop adaptive curricula for K-12 and higher education students. The partnership also extends personalized learning across French schools.
Kadokawa Corporation and Hachette Book Group announced an agreement in April 2016 to create a new venture that will bring together Hachette’s Yen Press imprint (a US publisher of Japanese manga and “light” novels) and Japan’s Kadokawa, which will hold the majority ownership.
In March 2016 Hachette Livre sold its 50% stake in Harlequin France to HarperCollins.
Change in Management
In December 2015, Hachette Livre announced that Chris Emerson, Chief Operating Officer of Hachette UK, would replace David Young as Chair of the Hachette Livre Chief Operating Officers’ Board.
American sales of printed books increased by 4.7% in line with the market, but the slowdown in the digital segment dampened margins. The British market grew by 5.5% in volume and the French market by 1.3% in volume (excluding textbooks) and 2.0% in value. The Spanish market continued to deteriorate, falling by 2% in volume due to the enduring economic crisis in that country.
Hachette remains committed to its eight-pronged strategy, with selective investments in high-growth markets such as Russia, India and China.
Hachette made two deals to accelerate the company’s digital businesss. Hachette UK acquired the games developer Neon play in 2016, and Hachette Livre formed a partnership with Shazam, which specializes in visual recognition.
E-book sales fell from 10.3% to 9.0% of Lagardère Publishing’s overall sales in 2015.
E-book trends reversed in the United States and United Kingdom in 2015, as printed book volumes rallied at the expense of their digital counterparts, due mainly to the introduction of new contractual conditions with Amazon. The transition to e-books continues to be primarily limited to English-speaking markets and solely in the General Literature segment, with diverging market trends.
Digital sales reported by Lagardère Publishing in the United States represented 22% of trade sales, down from 26% in 2014.
UK digital sales represented 26% of adult trade in 2015, compared to 31% in 2014.
Hachette Livre has already made many of its titles available as e-books. Hachette Book Group’s US digital catalogue includes over 7,000 titles, with 25,000 in the UK and more than 26,000 in France. Hachette Livre’s total e-book list across all countries is 69,000.
In the US, the Hachette Book Group (HBG) had 34 number one bestsellers, including books by James Patterson, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, Nicholas Sparks, Donna Tartt, Malala Yousafzai, Sandra Brown, Michael Connelly, Stephenie Meyer, and Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling).
In 2015, 113 titles published by Hachette UK reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, with 19 at number one. Among the winners were A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond, The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf, Asking for it by Louise O’Neill, and Deliciously Ella (published in January) which also broke all records for daily sales of a cookbook.
Bestselling titles in France included D’après une histoire vraie by Delphine de Vigan (447,000 copies), La Cache by Christophe Boltanski, La Septième Fonction du langage by Laurent Binet, La Fleur by Jean-Noël Orengo, and The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis. In addition, the fourth of the Fifty Shades of Grey series sold 869,000 copies.
In Illustrated Books, the year was marked by the overwhelming success of the new Asterix album (1.9 million copies sold), and the more unexpected triumph of the cookbook Simplissime. The success of Art Therapy books also continued.
In India, Playing it My Way, by Sachin Tendulkar (Hachette India) became the bestselling large-format non-fiction publication of all time, while The Gita for Children, by Roopa Pai, became the year’s bestseller in youth literature.