'Strong' year for Faber as sales and profit rise

'Strong' year for Faber as sales and profit rise

Faber saw its turnover rise by just under 10% to £18.72m in the financial year ending March 2017, with operating profit up by more than 80% to £1.97m (from £1.09m in the previous year’s figures). The results are said to be the second best in the company’s history. Chief executive Stephen Page pictured attributed the success to "extremely good publishing" and "strong and sustained momentum" across all aspects of the business.

The company experienced a "very successful year" across its full range of income streams, making for an "exceptional year" for the company, Page said.

Turnover was £18.72m in 2017, up 9.7% from £17.06m in 2016, helped in part by the "exceptional sales" of the TV tie-in edition of Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, which sold 99,730 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. Sebastian Barry’s Costa winner Days Without End, which sold 78,862 copies, and “significant sales” of other titles including Golden Hill by Francis Spufford, Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien and Alan Bennett’s Keeping On, Keeping On, also boosted the publisher’s numbers.

Profit after tax was £1.65m, up from £702,000 in the previous year. Meanwhile, gross profit was up from £8.68m in 2016 to £9.69m.

The fiction list “excelled” in the 2016 – 2017 financial year, with sales 19% up on the previous year. Notable fiction successes included debut novel was Hystopia by David Means, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016 and Paul Auster’s 4 3 2 1, which was a “global publishing” event, according to the publisher. Max Porter’s success for his debut Grief is the Thing with Feathers continued throughout the year with three prize wins: the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Sunday Times/ Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year and the BAMB Fiction Award.

Faber Children’s continued to go from “strength to strength” with revenue up 6% on the previous year. Significant prize wins included both Blue Peter books of the year (Podkin One-Ear and Survivors), and Monstrous Child (Faber/Profile) was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Award and The Smell of Other People’s Houses for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Meanwhile, Faber US enjoyed an "excellent" first year, "laying the foundations for future growth", said the company; and the performance of the Faber rights team resulted in a "record" year, 14% ahead of the previous year’s figures.

Revenue from creative writing school Faber Academy grew by 15% and service income in the year was "healthy", with "strong sales" of several Independent Alliance publishers’ titles.

The new financial year has started with "significant growth" on the children’s lists, "acclaim" for fiction débuts such as Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends, Paul Auster’s shortlisting for the Man Booker Prize with 4 3 2 1 and the launch of initiatives to address inclusivity in the company.

Page said: "Literary publishing is a long game, but this year we have enjoyed great success in return for our hard work and publishing choices, and I want to thank all the Faber staff for their dedication and imagination. While not all years will match this one, its successes are heartening, and they have given us a strong platform on which we can continue to build."