Acquisitions, expanded product lines, international expansion, development of new marketing channels and continued branding are some of the ways IDG Books expects to grow in fiscal 1999, according to the company's first-ever annual report.

A key objective for IDG Books in the fiscal year ended September 30, 1998, was to broaden its publishing program beyond its highly successful For Dummies series. In the year, Dummies sales rose 9.3% to $89.3 million and represented 63.1% of total sales, compared to 68.1% in fiscal 1997. Sales of IDG Technology titles rose 33.8% last year to $52.2 million and represented 36.9% of sales, compared to 31.9% in the previous year. In fiscal '98, IDG Books reported total sales of $141.5 million and net income of $10.2 million (News, Nov. 9, 1998).

During the year, frontlist sales accounted for 40%, or $56.7 million, of IDG Books' total revenues, compared to 45.5% in fiscal '97. Licensing revenues in the year increased 16.6% to $4.9 million, while international sales increased 3.9% to $19.3 million.

To help boost sales to the Southeast Asian market, IDG Books announced last week that it has acquired a 25% stake in TransQuest Publishers, a new Singapore-based company founded by David Buckland. Buckland had been director of sales and marketing for Addison Wesley Longman in Singapore but resigned after AWL's parent company, Pearson, acquired Simon &Schuster. IDG Books' international plans also call for developing local publishing ventures around the world.

The company expects sales made through online booksellers to soar this year. In fiscal '98, sales through increased "tenfold" but represented only a small percentage of total revenues. In the last fiscal year, IDG Books sold its titles primarily through traditional marketing channels, with Barnes &Noble, Ingram and the Borders Group representing 14%, 13% and 12% of net revenue, respectively.

In its search for "the next big idea," IDG Books reported that it will focus on new platforms, such as electronic books, intranets, electronic downloads and e-commerce. On a more traditional level, the company will look to acquire more complementary knowledge brands such as Cliffs Notes, which IDG Books acquired late last year for $14 million; in fiscal '98, Cliffs Notes had annual sales of $12 million.