Just as Hogwarts students couldn’t skimp on their school supplies when they were threatened by the rise of Lord Voldemort, muggles will not cut back on books as the UK faces rising inflation.
The chief executive of publishing house Bloomsbury, famous for its Harry Potter books, is confident his company will continue to thrive, because books are a “necessity”.
Bloomsbury today reported its revenues had grown by 15 per cent to £142.6m in the year to 28 February, with books flying off the shelves. In particular, the company’s children’s division, led by Harry Potter, performed strongly, with turnover up 48 per cent to £55.9m.
Reporting its results, which sent shares up three per cent to 181p, Bloomsbury said its “book sales, and print in particular, continue to be resilient in spite of political and economic uncertainty”.
And, despite inflation being set to jump in the coming months, chief executive Nigel Newton predicted that purse-string tightening will not hit sales.
Noting that print sales were up eight per cent, Newton told City A.M.: “Parents seem keener than ever to raise their children in a bookish environment, as the overwhelming competition from screen-based forms of entertainment is resisted, or tried to be kept in balance.
“So I think the book is a superior mid-technology, like the bicycle, which has continued to flourish in the age of the car.”
On the effects of inflation, he added: “Books are a necessity. And, indeed, that’s not a blind assertion. If you look at the history of the previous recessions and economic dips of the last 30 years, it’s clear that books have held their own at a time when people cut down on white goods, people have cut down on eating out.
“Books are a low ticket item – the average price is about £5.50 at the most – and so people continue to buy them when they cut back on other things.”
He added that Bloomsbury has diversified its portfolio into academic and professional publishing, providing further cover.