Turnover up 2% at Bloomsbury in first half

Bloomsbury has seen its turnover increase in the six month period ending August 31st 2012, but profit has dipped for the independent publisher.

The company saw a turnover of £43.5 million, up 2% from the £42.4 million in the same period in 2011, but profit before tax and items such as costs of setting up Bloomsbury India fell 37% from £3.3 million to £2.1 million. Stripping out the costs, which include their relocation and restructuring, pre-tax profit fell from £1.5 million to £900,000, a 40% decline.

Chief executive Nigel Newton said the figures showed a “positive trend” over the long term. He said: “The group continues to make good progress. We have acquired two new businesses further boosting our presence in the academic market, particularly in the USA, and have launched our own sales and publishing operation in India, a market which has the potential to become one of the largest English language book markets in the world.”

He added: “Higher e-book sales and academic turnover continue to increase the weighting of our sales to the second half. In addition we have a strong second half list, including potential best sellers, and are targeting a significant number of rights and services contracts. We remain well positioned for the future and results continue to show a positive trend over the longer term.”

In July 2011, Bloomsbury bought The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd, contributing £6.9 million of mainly print sales. However, in its results the company pointed out that the success of E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey and the Olympics keeping people off the High Street had impacted on sales, while sales of Harry Potter titles fell after the release of the final film in 2011.

Digital sales have boomed in the period, with e-book sales up 89% year on year to £4.5 million from £2.4 million. E-book sales now represent 10% of total turnover, compared to 6% the previous year, and 15% of the adult division.

The company has also had awards success, with Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles winning the Orange Prize for Fiction, and Will Self’s Umbrella and Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

For its second half, Bloomsbury picks out as strong titles How to Bake by Paul Hollywood, Hugh’s Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and the first ever Wisden India Cricketers Almanac.