Overview

(extracted from the Annual Report for y/e 28 February 2022)

Our social purpose

At the heart of our business is a strong social purpose – to inform, educate and entertain, to inspire a love for reading and learning, to promote literacy and to help build a reading culture. Bloomsbury’s core business of publishing books and resources to inform, educate and inspire is therefore in itself a social good. We give light to common humanity, ideas, debates, educational and academic rigour and dreams. Our books have impact for generations, change cultures and inspire others.

We are committed to helping authors, both new and established, bring original and powerful works across an array of genres and subjects to readers and learners worldwide, sharing ideas, knowledge and experience by publishing creatively in all formats across our diverse lists. We support learning and help to advance equity through education by way of our extensive portfolio of educational and academic resources for teachers and students.

Books have the power to change and shape lives, whether consumed for entertainment or education. The 2021 Reading Report by the National Literacy Trust (“NLT”) reported that reading to relax was one of the main reasons why children and young people were reading in early 2021 with one in two (52.7%) saying this, followed by two educational aspects, namely helping to learn about new things (51.4%) and learning new words (49.8%). One in three (34.4%) said that reading made them feel happy, and over one in four (26.1%) said that reading made them feel better when they were sad. For one in five (19.3%) young people, reading also provided a connection to the world. Reading continues to support children and young people’s mental well-being, with over 2 in 5 (44.6%) children and young people agreeing that reading made them feel better.

The importance of books has been illustrated by the huge upsurge in reading over the past two years as the world experienced the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant increase in sales of books about race and social inequalities.

There is a pressing need to do more to enable and support the inclusion of people from all backgrounds and identities in our business and the wider publishing industry, ensuring that diverse voices both reflect and shape our culture and society. We have accelerated our activities in this area to drive change, both in respect of our workforce and the books we publish.

Treading lightly

We have made significant progress in our work on environmental sustainability, including having our own emission reduction targets reviewed and validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This programme of work remains of the utmost importance to Bloomsbury’s Board and Executive Committee, and in 2022/2023, we will be working with an external partner to identify carbon reduction measures that will support the achievement of these targets and our climate transition planning.

Engaging with our stakeholders and making good long-term decisions

Stakeholder engagement is integral to how we do business and to the formulation and execution of our strategy for achieving long-term success.  Respect and consideration for our stakeholders in how we do business delivers better outcomes not just for Bloomsbury, but for society as a whole. Through broad engagement, our business decisions are informed by a wide range of perspectives, allowing us to deliver value and opportunities to our stakeholder groups, balanced between the short and long-term. The interests of our various stakeholders and the consequences of any decision in the longterm are considered carefully by the Board. Our stakeholder engagement enables the Board to understand and consider all relevant interests and factors in its decision-making process in order to select the course of action that best leads to the success of Bloomsbury in the long-term, at the same time as serving the interests of the Company’s stakeholders as a whole.

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