Book sales inched up 1.7%, to $1.08 billion, at Reader's Digest for the year ended June 30, the company disclosed in its year-end filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The small gain in revenue was led by higher sales in North America, which offset a decline in international book sales. Sales of general interest books fell "significantly" overseas (as did sales of videos and music), while sales of some series titles were also off.
Among RD's North American book properties, sales were up in its children's publishing unit, due in part to increased sales to mass merchandisers. Sales at Books Are Fun increased 4%, driven by an increase in the number of book fairs held at businesses and corporations as well as higher sales per fair. Books Are Fun fairs are now held at 48,000 small businesses, 16,000 corporations and 14,000 day care centers. Schools, however, still remain the largest channel, with fairs conducted at about 68,000 schools.
Book sales also benefited from a full year's results from Reiman Publications. Reiman sold more than 4.4 million books last year with annual titles constituting about 90% of sales. Books represented about 24% of Reiman's total revenue last year.
Sales at Select Editions were down in the year due to fewer members and reductions in mailings to third-party customer lists. Book sales also fell at Young Families, although profits rose because of the elimination of unprofitable product lines.