Harper's Earnings Rise, Sales Drop; Online Support
Staff -- 2/12/01

After a string of steady quarterly sales increases, HarperCollins reported that revenues for the second quarter ended December 31, 2000, fell 6%, to $267 million. Despite the revenue decline, operating profit rose 5.3%, to $40 million.

For the first half of the year, operating income was ahead 28.6%, to $90 million, on a 5.8% revenue gain, to $604 million.

Harper president Jane Friedman blamed the revenue decline on exchange rates--"that really hurt us"--and on titles left over from the Morrow acquisition. She explained, "We were publishing titles left from Morrow and Avon that were less profitable. This year we've published fewer titles more profitably. I'm delighted with where the profits are. The second half looks pretty good. We're holding to our forecasts." She cited award-winning titles like Soul Mountain by Nobel Prize winner Gao Zingjian and Gloria Whelan's Homeless Bird, which won the NBA for young people's literature. "Not only is Harper more profitable," said Friedman, "but we're starting to win critical acclaim."

Offers Online Sales Support
Joining a number of major publishers offering around-the-clock sales support via the Internet, HarperCollins has launched HarperTools, a password-protected Web site that provides a variety of resources for Web retailers.

The site offers information on hot-selling titles and publicity plans, account-specific ordering and tracking, title search, downloadable promotional material, jacket art and e-mail links to Harper support staff. In May, the site will offer online access to HarperCollins catalogues.

"The Internet has given us the opportunity to provide a higher level of service," said Friedman. "Our goal is to make useful information available online, day or night."