Small loss for Faber in 'tough' year

Small loss for Faber in 'tough' year

Faber saw a sharp drop in turnover for the year ending March 2014, and made a small operating loss for the year.

The independent publisher recorded a turnover for the year of £16.3m, down 18% from £20m in the previous year. From an operating profit of £2.3m in the year to end March 2013, the publisher this time saw an operating loss of £5,000.

Faber c.e.o. and publisher Stephen Page said the year had seen tough market conditions for the company. He told The Bookseller: "I think across the last 18 months there has been a more profound change than may at first meet the eye. The bestseller end of the market has been pretty robust, but at the middle of the market, for portfolio publishers such as ourselves, it's been really very tough."

He added that a number of factors had impacted on the company's "disappointing" results. "There's a softer high street, it's harder to find audiences online, literary fiction and non-fiction and art publishing is harder to translate into e-book sales. I'm very confident that there is a market, but it is harder to find."

Page also said the last year had seen Faber investing heavily in the future.

"Look at our children's publishing where we've invested in getting in top people and acquiring great books. We've already seen awards success and it's exciting to see what's coming through there. Faber Press has reorganised part of our business, and things like our consumer branding and Faber Social are longer term investments that we will benefit from in future."

Page said he viewed the year as "break-even" overall, "respectable enough in a time of such dynamic external change."

Referring to sales on the UK high street, Page said: "It's very good to hear that Waterstones is doing well and looking at breaking even, or returning to profitability. They are selling in a way that works for them. It might not necessarily be working for us, but that's our issue, not theirs. Looking at the high street as a whole, it's taking a shape that we will be part of for years to come."

Identifying successful titles over the period, Faber picked out books such as Louise Doughty's Apple Tree Yard, which was a Richard & Judy selection, and has so far sold 106,579 copies across two editions according to Nielsen BookScan. The fiction list saw a 7% increase in turnover for the period. Other books mentioned include David Peace's Red or Dead, Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behaviour, which was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, and Katherine Rundell's Waterstones Children's Book Prize-winning Rooftoppers.

Aside from publishing, Faber Factory Powered by Constellation continued to grow revenue and profits, while the Faber Academy for creative writing students also saw revenue rise 11% on the previous year.