First-half revenue and profit fall at Bloomsbury

First-half revenue and profit fall at Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury has seen a fall in revenue and profits for the first half of 2014, with the adult publishing division down following a strong performance in the previous year.

For the six months ending 31st August 2014, the publisher had turnover of £46.6m, down 5% from £49.2m in the same period in 2013. Adjusted profit before tax stood at £1.7m, a 26% decline from £2.3m in 2013, while overall profit before tax was £500,000, a 55% drop from £1.1m. Within the overall sales figure, print sales were £36.6 million (2013: £39.6m) and digital sales were £5.6m (2013: £5.8m), reflecting reductions of £3.1m in print sales and £0.8m in digital sales in the adult divisions.

Chief executive Nigel Newton said the revenue drop was "expected", and added that aside from adult publishing, all other areas had seen growth. In his comments on the results, he said: "We have continued to make strong progress in developing Bloomsbury as a wholly integrated trade and academic publisher. In the period revenues were up in all our divisions except adult, as expected, following the exceptional success of certain books last year."

The adult division saw revenue of £19.3m in the period, a drop of 17% compared to £23.2m last year, and earnings of £200,000, as opposed to £1.3m last year, a fall of 83%. Last year's "exceptional result" was attributed to the publication of Khaled Hosseini's And The Mountains Echoed.

Other divisions grew, with academic and professional seeing a rise of 1% to revenue of £14m, compared to £13.9m last year, with digital revenues in the division rising by 65% to £2m. Digital revenues, including growing subscriptions, now make up 15% of the division's revenues.

In children's, revenue grew 8% to £11.2m, up from £10.4m, and earnings of £1.2m. Standout titles named in the results included Rachel Valentine and Ed Eaves' Marmaduke the Different Dragon, and John Green's Paper Towns.

Harry Potter also remains a key area for the publisher, with newly jacketed editions released, and fully illustrated editions planned for next year. Newton said: "Not since the launch of the final Harry Potter book in 2007 has there been such a range of activities in support of the Harry Potter phenomenon. The year ahead will see a huge surge in public interest in Harry Potter with our launch of new children's editions in this period, Warner Bros announcement of a trilogy of films of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, which is published by Bloomsbury, the creation of a stage play of Harry Potter for London's West End, significant new material on J K Rowling's highly successful Pottermore website and Harry Potter Book Night in February 2015, in which Bloomsbury Publishing will play a key role."

He added that the new illustrated editions, created by artist Jim Kay, have: "the potential to create as much interest in the Harry Potter books as Tenniel's illustrations of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland did."

Bloomsbury's last full year results, announced in May, saw the publisher posting revenue of £109.5m, growing on the previous year, with a dip in profit before tax, and rising operational profit.