Our strategy

Interview with Chief Executive Nigel Newton

The Group's Mission is to grow a high quality global publishing business delivering high value to its contributors, readers and shareholders.

We achieve this Mission through our strategy which is to:

  • Publish authors and works of excellence and originality.
  • Deliver professional services to those seeking publication.
  • Combine tradition and technology to achieve excellence.
  • Establish solid profit streams.

Our overall growth strategy and long-term focus remains unchanged; to invest in high value intellectual property, to publish works of excellence and originality, to build our diversified portfolio of content and services across our Consumer and Non-Consumer Divisions, and to diversify into digital channels to build quality revenues and increase earnings.

Our strategic priorities

Non-Consumer publishing

Grow Bloomsbury’s portfolio in Non‑Consumer publishing.

Non-Consumer publishing is characterised by higher, more predictable margins, is less reliant on retailers and presents greater digital and global opportunities. Non-Consumer revenues are derived from our Academic & Professional, Educational and Special Interest publishing.

2020/2021 progress:

−− Delivered 52% growth in Non-Consumer digital revenue;

−− Acquisition of assets of publisher Zed Books Limited, strengthening our position in African Studies and Development Studies and our presence as a leader in academic Area Studies publishing. The acquisition also enhances Bloomsbury’s Politics and International Relations list.

Achieve Bloomsbury Digital Resources revenue of £15 million and profit of £5 million for 2021/2022.

Our Bloomsbury Digital Resources digital growth strategy, combining digital products of excellence with the strength and range of our partnerships enables us to deliver growth from the high-quality platforms and infrastructure we have built and are continuing to build.

2020/2021 progress:

−− Delivered £12.4 million revenue,  up 49% and profit of £2.9 million, up £2.2 million;

−− Number of Academic customers increased by 73% during the year;

−− 40% increase in content of Bloomsbury Collections;

−− Launch of 3 new products and 7 new modules;

−− Launch of content partnership products with Taylor & Francis and Human Kinetics; and

−− New partnerships include Yale University Press, Liverpool University Press, Human Kinetics and the Stratford Festival.

Consumer publishing

Discover, nurture and retain high-quality authors and illustrators, while looking at new ways to leverage existing title rights.

2020/2021 progress:

−− Bestsellers included Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge, Such A Fun Age, by Kiley Reid, Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, and Humankind by Rutger Bregman.

Grow our key authors through effective publishing across all formats alongside strategic sales and marketing.

2020/2021 progress:

−− 129% growth in sales of Sarah J Maas titles, with both new titles Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood and A Court of Silver Flames reaching Number One on the New York Times bestseller list .

As the originating publisher of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, ensure that new children discover and read it for pleasure every year.

2020/2021 progress:

−− 7% growth in Harry Potter title sales, 23 years after first publication; and 

−− Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the 3rd bestselling Children’s title on UK Nielsen Bookscan, 23 years after first publication.

International expansion

Expand international revenues and reduce reliance on the UK market.

Continuing our international growth in order to reduce reliance on the UK market as well as take advantage of the biggest academic market in the USA and significant growth potential in India and China is a key part of
our strategy.

2020/2021 progress:

−− Increased overseas revenue to 64% of Group revenue; and;

−− 81% of Academic BDR sales are international.

Employee experience and engagement

Be an attractive employer for all individuals seeking a career in publishing regardless of background or identity, adding cultural value to our business operations and performance.

Focus on targeted initiatives to create an environment that nurtures talent, stimulates creativity and collaboration, is respectful of difference and supports wellbeing.

Our colleagues are amongst our most important assets, and our success is driven by their expertise, passion and commitment. We understand the importance of attracting, supporting and engaging colleagues wherever they work. We recognise the value of diversity of thought, perspectives and experience in shaping our culture and strategy, driving our long-term success and informing the ways in which we fulfil our social purpose.

2020/2021 progress:

Continuing focus on employee engagement, well-being and development initiatives, including:

−− Ongoing Employee Voice Meetings, listening to each of our employees’ views;

−− Introduction of monthly online Town Halls led by the Chief Executive and featuring participation from management colleagues from across the Group;

−− Ongoing provision of mentoring scheme for early and mid-career employees;

−− Introduction of increased flexible working to support employees during the pandemic, including fully flexible working during school closures;

−− Expansion and alignment across international offices of Diversity and Inclusion Employee Networks which complement and inform the activities of our Diversity and Inclusion Working Groups;

−− Strengthened our Diversity and Inclusion governance structure; and

−− Formulated our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, and set ambitious targets to increase representation of Black and Ethnic Minorities in our workforce and our author base.

Sustainability

Maximise our use of sustainable resources while seeking to reduce carbon emissions.

We recognise our responsibilities to conserve resources and we are committed to monitoring and improving the environmental impact of our operations.

2020/2021 progress:

−−Measured Scope 3 emissions for the first time;

−− Set reduction targets in respect of Scope 1 and 2 emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and further in respect of Scope 3 emissions, which have been submitted to the Science Based Targets Initiative for validation;

−− Recognised by the Financial Times’ ‘Europe’s Climate Leaders 2021’ – the 300 companies that have achieved the greatest reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions intensity between 2014 and 2019, aligned with revenue growth; and

−− Supporting the Woodland Trust and Reforest’ Action for three years.

 

*An analysis of our environmental performance during the year is set out on in the Strategic Report on pages 76 to 81 of the Annual Report.

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