Franklin Sees Big Gains From eBookMan Launch
Staff -- 11/27/00

Franklin Electronic Publishers expects to begin generating "significant" eBookMan sales early next year, Barry Lipsky, president and CEO of the company, said in remarks accompanying results for Franklin's second quarter ended September 30, 2000. During the last quarter, Franklin spent slightly more than $1 million to develop the eBookMan, a cost that dropped net income in the period to $208,000 from $9.7 million in the comparable quarter in fiscal 2000. Last year's figure included a net gain of $8.1 million from the sale of the company's REX product line. Without revenues from REX, sales in this year's second quarter fell to $20.4 million from $30.3 million.

Lipsky said he was "encouraged" that Franklin turned a profit in the second quarter, given the costs of developing its new e-book reader as well as absorbing the impact of a 10% decline in European currencies and component shortages. Lipsky noted that while revenues were up in its core reference businesses, the company d s not expect that strength to carry into the second half of fiscal 2001. Demand for the company's Rolodex electronic organizers is weakening as shelf space condenses, and Franklin is implementing special marketing efforts to stimulate reference sales in its Bible and Hispanic markets. Lipsky closed by observing that while the development of the eBookMan "impacted our profits and stretched thin our resources over the past year... we expect this new product line to make significant contributions to the company's profits in future years."