16 January 2012
Bloomsbury Publishing is issuing its Interim Management Statement in respect of the period 1 September 2011 to date.
Group performance in the period ended 31 December 2011 was strong. Throughout the period we have had success across a very wide range of titles, in digital and in print, front and back list, trade and specialist, adult and children's. Our major bestsellers included River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which has been consistently in the top five on Amazon.co.uk for the past six weeks; Heston at Home by Heston Blumenthal; Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman and the Harry Potter box sets.
Ebook sales grew significantly with the quarter ended 31 December 2011 being up 38% year on year. YouGov reported that over 1.3 million ebook readers were sold in the UK over the Christmas period and Amazon.com has said Christmas Day was the "biggest ever day for Kindle book downloads".
Our books continue to win critical praise and recognition with prize winners in the period including The Wavewatcher's Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, which won the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, which won the 2011 National Book Award in the US. Four of our children's titles have been nominated for the 2012 Carnegie Medal and Among The Fans: From Ashes to the Arrows, a Year of Watching the Watchers by Patrick Collins was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
We generated significant revenues from intellectual property and publishing services projects. In October we announced a long term licensing deal for the Wisden brand in India with contracted revenues for our Adult division of US$3.2 million over five years plus a royalty share. We have also recently launched the new online magazine Wisden Extra. In December, Bloomsbury Information entered into a partnership with Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH, a private independent non‐profit research institute in Germany for the development and provision of a reference and information resource in labour economics which will generate £4.3m of revenue over five years.
Bloomsbury is focused on maximising the enormous opportunities provided by the rise in digital publishing. In Academic & Professional, having launched a range of online services for the Irish legal and tax market in July, Bloomsbury Professional pursued its digital growth strategy in October with the launch of an online service for UK tax practitioners. Early indications are very positive for this competitively priced reference service launched for mid-tier firms. Further online services in 2012 will include a financial reporting product.
In the Adult division, we announced in December that Public Library Online, our online subscription service for libraries, will be making two shelves available free throughout the UK, thanks to the generous sponsorship from Google. Public Library Online already serves 8 million people in the UK and 17 million elsewhere in Europe. In October, we acquired Absolute Press, a high quality cookery list, which includes the recent bestsellers Indian Superfood and Cooking with Kids.
In the Children's & Educational division we appointed a new Publishing Director & International Editor in Chief Bloomsbury Children's Books; Rebecca McNally, in October. She was previously Publishing Director of Fiction at Macmillan Children's Books. Her role will include the expansion of Bloomsbury's illustrated children's publishing.
At 31 December 2011 the Group had net cash of £7 million.
We will begin to have visibility of post-Christmas returns over the next six weeks but the strong level of sales in the last quarter of 2011 combined with the significant digital contracts and strategic initiatives that the Bloomsbury management team have completed since the beginning of the financial year, mean that we expect to deliver results in line with our expectations.
Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury commented:
"I am delighted at the way the group has performed during this extremely active time in the industry. We have a robust business, strongly adapted to the digital market place, that we have positioned to take full advantage of the continuing opportunities arising from growth of online sales and sales of ebooks. Other Bloomsbury strengths of database creation, publishing management services and rights licensing are underpinned by an extremely strong author list as we set forth in the New Year, building on our many recent successful acquisitions."
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