Bloomsbury e-book sales up nearly 40% in final quarter of 2011

Bloomsbury e-book sales up nearly 40% in final quarter of 2011

Bloomsbury has said it had a "strong" final three months of 2011, with e-book sales growing by 38% year on year in the quarter from 1st September to 31st December 2011.

In an interim management statement, chief executive Nigel Newton said he was "delighted" with the group's performance over the period, an "extremely active time in the industry", describing the business as "robust" and "strongly adapted to the digital marketplace".

At 31st December 2011, the publisher had net cash of £7m, having "generated significant revenues from intellectual property and publishing services projects". The quarter saw the finalising of a long-term licensing deal for the Wisden brand in India, announced in October, with contracted revenues for the Adult division predicted at $3.2m over five years plus a royalty share. Meanwhile Bloomsbury Information's partnership with private independent non-profit research institute Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH, announced in December, is predicted to generate £4.3m of revenue over five years.

In Academic & Professional, the publisher cited the launch in October of an online service for UK tax practitioners, and said: "Early indications are very positive for this competitively priced reference service launched for mid-tier firms. Further online services in 2012 will include a financial reporting product".

Bloomsbury also announced it is developing an online information portal for the study of labour economics in partnership with the Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA). The IZA World of Labor portal will provide a "comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date information resource aimed at labor economists, decision makers, and other professionals in labor economics around the world", and will be available free online. Bloomsbury will publish an accompanying range of books in print and electronic formats.

Across the trade publishing divisions, the statement mentioned Public Library Online's connection with Google, with the internet search giant sponsoring two shelves from December, as well as cookery list Absolute Press acquired in October. In the adult division, "major bestsellers" included River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Heston at Home by Heston Blumenthal and Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. In children's ithe Harry Potter box sets were cited. The statement also mentioned Rebecca McNally's appointment as publishing director and international editor in chief, Bloomsbury Children's Books, in October, reiterating that her role will "include the expansion of Bloomsbury's illustrated children's publishing".

Newton added: "Other Bloomsbury strengths of database creation, publishing management services and rights licensing are underpinned by an extremely strong author list as we set forth in the New Year, building on our many recent successful acquisitions."