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Sales maintained but profits drop at Canongate
01.01.70 | Catherine Neilan
Canongate has seen profits drop by more than a quarter, despite nearly maintaining the turnover generated during its "record year" in 2008, largely on the back of Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.
The Scottish publisher racked up sales of £14.67m - down 0.4% on the £14.73 from the previous year. Group profit before tax and minority interest was £1.9m down 25.5% from £2.6m in 2008 - although this was a rise of 965% on 2007.
Managing director and publisher Jamie Byng said: "Our annus mirabilis, 2008, was always going to be an extremely tough year to follow, especially in the context of a weak market with declining book sales.
"However, we managed to keep our turnover around the £15m mark and also deliver a sizeable profit on the bottom line. It’s a performance that I think we can be extremely happy with and it’s testament to the fantastic team at Canongate and all their hard work."
Canongate highlighted Christmas illustrated hit Simon’s Cat, Mari Strachan’s debut novel The Earth Hums in B Flat, which won Amazon’s Rising Stars award, and Yann Martel's Life of Pi, which was reissued during the summer, as having contributed to the top line.
And the firm continued to be boosted by Obama's memoir last year: as reported in The Bookseller Dreams From My Father ended the year as the number one paperback non-fiction title, selling more than 367,000 copies with an average selling price of £6.61. This contributed to the increase in backlist sales of 151%, from £2.14m to £5.4m. Audacity of Hope was in eighth position for the year.
Byng said: "It was gratifying to see backlist sales up so significantly and as in previous years we have continued to invest in new authors, staff and systems as we try and build the business into something even more dynamic and robust."
He added: "2010 has also got off to an extremely good start with two number one bestsellers in Hugh Ambrose’s The Pacific and Philip Pullman’s The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the biggest April in the history of the company. So despite the uncertainty in the industry, we feel there is much to be positive about and feel confident that we can deliver another great year in 2010."