PUBLISHING house Bloomsbury reported a drop in annual profits today but said best-sellers including Ben Macintyre’s spy story Operation Mincemeat had given a boost to trading at the start of 2010.
The firm posted profits of £7.1 million for the year to December 31, down from £11.6 million after the prior year’s revenues were boosted by the paperback version of JK Rowling’s final Harry Potter book.
As well as the success of Operation Mincemeat, Bloomsbury said it had a strong pipeline of releases for this year, including new look versions of the Harry Potter series of books, due for release in November.
Sales successes last year included the food titles by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Heston Blumenthal, as well as Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. The two Khaled Hosseini novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, sold strongly all year, it added.
The specialist part of the business was boosted by the acquisitions of the legal and tax publisher Tottel, now renamed Bloomsbury Professional, and the Hodder Education Humanities List.
Chief executive and founder Nigel Newton said today’s results demonstrated the strength of the company’s different revenue streams.
He predicted the marketplace will remain rocky in 2010 but said he expected Bloomsbury to perform well, as shown by an "excellent" start to the year.
While the recent collapse of Borders has highlighted the long-term decline of high street booksellers, Bloomsbury said the past year had seen an increase in online book sales.
E-book revenues remain small but Bloomsbury noted a "considerable uplift" in activity following the release of Amazon Kindle.
"We are looking for opportunities to create new revenue streams from our digital files by content aggregation and innovative marketing," Mr Newton added.