Yale University Press London (YUPL) had a “tough” 12 months for the year ending 30th June 2018 with sales down 18% from the “exceptional” previous year, according to its annual report.
The figures, just filed to Companies House, come after a record-breaking 2017 when the publisher saw net sales growth of 30%. But in 2018, total income for YUPL, including subsidiary Yale Representation Limited, fell by 18% from £9.2m to £7.5m – a similar figure to 2016.
Top line book and e-book sales dropped to £7.2m from £8.7m the year before. YUPL said frontlist sales were down across the board in autumn and spring, with even the strongest titles struggling to sell the 5,000 to 10,000 copies achieved in previous years. However, the company said trade and academic sales held up “comparatively well” and the press was still ahead of 2016.
Meanwhile. group net assets were down from £3.44m to £3.28m - a consolidated deficit of £153,631.
YUPL m.d. Heather McCallum told The Bookseller: “FY 2018 was a much tougher year for Yale University Press London, which was expected as it followed FY 2017 which was exceptional, and a record-breaking year in terms of top line sales. Sales in 2017 benefitted in part from the weakness of the pound but also as a result of increased museum co-publication income and the quality of the list overall.
“In 2018, consolidated net incoming resources decreased by £1.5m to £7.7m, which was impacted by a softer list, fewer museum co-pubs, reduced income from publishing partners and the market response to adjustments to price and discount - implemented to mitigate against exchange rate volatility and maximise sales on a global basis which resulted in an overall consolidated deficit of £153,631. It should be noted that total incoming resources have grown 3.5% on FY 2016, if we view FY 2017 as a complete outlier.”
The report singled out The Vory by Mark Gaelotti and How to Rig an Election by Nic Chessman and Brian Klaas as highlights of the year for their “strong impact and “serious scholarly contributions” to current affairs. YUPL publications were also in contention for a number of prizes with Heretics and Believers by Peter Marshall taking the Wolfson History Prize.
It also predicted an “upward trend” continuing into 2019 and beyond, with YUPL signing in new areas and seeking further opportunities in international markets.
McCallum said: “We have started to see some shoots of recovery during the second quarter of FY 2019, reflecting increased direct buying as a result of discount changes and an adaptation to the new front and backlist prices. We hope that with full staffing this trend will continue through the second half of the year, and we are currently confident of meeting our sales reforecast. Publishing highlights include Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s Arabs, a comprehensive history of the Arab peoples and the landmark four-volume Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered by Carmen Bambach, scheduled for release at the end of June. Furthermore, our FY 2020 looks very robust.”