Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury posted its highest earnings since 2008, saying that people are shunning streaming and turning to books during lockdown

  • Bloomsbury, the original publisher for the "Harry Potter" series, posted a 17% rise in revenue and 60% rise in profits in the six months to August.
  • It posted its highest first-half earnings since 2008, and said people had "rediscovered the pleasure of reading" during lockdown.
  • Bloomsbury credited its performance to new releases such as Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race" and Sarah J. Maas' "Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood."
  • Sales of "Harry Potter" were on the rise too, it said.
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Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury posted its highest first-half earnings since 2008 on Tuesday, and said the public had "rediscovered the pleasure of reading" during lockdown.

Bloomsbury credited its performance to the success of bestsellers including Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race," Sarah J. Maas' "Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood," and Kiley Reid's "Such A Fun Age."

But revenues were also propped up by books on its backlist, the UK company said. Harry Potter sales were "robust," Bloombury said, and rose by 8% between mid-July and the end of September, according to Nielsen Bookscan.

The paperback edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was the fifth-bestselling children's book of 2020 to date, 23 years after it was first published, it added.

Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive of Bloomsbury, told the BBC that there had been "a real uptake in reading" during lockdown, and that people were perhaps "tired of watching streamed movies which they binged on to begin with."

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Sales of titles by young adult fantasy author Maas increased by 131% in the half, it said, driven by the success of "Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood." Bloombury is publishing her next title, "A Court of Silver Flames," in February 2021.

Sales of both adult and childrens' books grew by roughly equal amounts, it added. Cook books sold well as more people cooked at home, and sales of wildlife books also rose.

Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race" was the number one paperback Sunday Times bestseller for seven weeks.

Sales of both e-books and physical books ordered online were significantly higher, the company said.

Total pre-profits in the six months to August were up 60% year-on-year to £4.0 million ($3.9 million), and revenues rose 10% to £78.3 million ($102.0 million).

The company is "confident about the future of publishing," but warned "the short-term is difficult to predict because of the pandemic."

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