Bloomsbury e-book sales up 70% in first quarter

Bloomsbury e-book sales up 70% in first quarter

Bloomsbury's global e-book sales were up 70% year on year between 1st March and 31st May 2012, the publisher has reported in its interim management statement. Print sales fell by 2% for the same period.

At 30th June, the group had a balance sheet with net cash of £10m, according to the statement.

Chief executive Nigel Newton said the company is "well placed to take advantage of [the] seismic shift in the book publishing industry", as e-book sales "continue to grow at a rapid rate".

The statement highlighted Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg Everyday!, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2012, Double Cross by Ben MacIntyre, Heston at Home by Heston Blumenthal and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward as bestsellers over the three-month period. Bloomsbury titles also scooped the Orange Prize, the IMPAC Dublin Award and the Rugby Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards during the period.

Bloomsbury has also recently acquired two businesses—Fairchild Books in April, and Applied Visual Arts Publishing (AVA) in July. The statement said these two acquisitions had contributed to "significant progress" being made in growing Bloomsbury's academic and professional revenues and profits, described as one of the company's "core strategic objectives".

The publisher also launched the Churchill Archive in June, an online subscription archive of Winston Churchill's writing of over 800,000 pages. The statement said: "We have already seen considerable interest in subscriptions from research centres, museums, universities and public libraries both in the UK and overseas."

Newton said: "We have continued to make significant progress throughout the period in growing our Academic & Professional division. The acquisition of Fairchild Books in particular represents a highly complementary fit to our existing business in fashion publishing following our acquisition of Berg Publishers in 2008 . . . Despite the economic headwinds we are confident that we have the right strategy in place as well as a very strong list of authors for the coming year."