2007 'unquestionably bad' at Canongate

<p>Scottish independent Canongate has described the year-ending 2007 as &quot;challenging&quot;. It reported a drop in turnover and a fall in pretax profit of more than half on 2006 owing to a &quot;lacklustre year in terms of sales&quot;. The firm reported group turnover dropped &quot;slightly&quot;, from &pound;8.06m to &pound;7.95m, while profits before tax fell from &pound;683,000 to &pound;271,000.</p><p>Jamie Byng, m.d., said: &quot;It was an unquestionably bad year, because despite publishing some great books, we had nothing that broke out. &quot;But that was in marked contrast to this year, which is going to be a record period for us, so we are pretty philosophical about it,&quot; he added.</p><p>He stressed that 2006 had been another strong year for Canongate, with two titles&mdash;Kate Grenville&#39;s <em>The Secret River</em> and M J Hyland&#39;s <em>Carry Me Down</em>&mdash;shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.</p><p>The report highlighted &quot;wise&quot; investments in staff during 2007, such as non-fiction editorial director Nick Davies, who also joined the board in September this year.</p><p>It also tipped investments in titles such as the two books by Barack Obama, and <em>The Mighty Book of Boosh</em>, which is the fastest-selling hardback ever published by Canongate.</p><p>Despite acknowledging that the economic crisis could put pressure on the company for up to 24 months, Byng forecast Canongate group turnover would top &pound;10m for 2008. <br /></p>