Bloomsbury predicts year of the e-book

Steve Dinneen
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PUBLISHER Bloomsbury yesterday heralded the year of the e-book as it unveiled an 18 per cent increase in electronic sales.

The firm reported overall revenues of £90.7m, up four per cent year-on-year, while profits excluding one-off items rose to £8.4m from £7.7m.

E-book sales now account for 10 per cent of Bloomsbury sales.

Nigel Newton told City A.M.: “E-books took off in the US in 2010. The word exponential could actually be used accurately to describe their growth.

“In the UK, Christmas was the time for iPads and Kindles, so in January we have seen a huge increase in sales of e-books.

“I think 2011 will be the year of the e-book. This will affect us beneficially – it opens up new markets. The question of whether the e-book sales will cannibalise print sales is pertinent and nobody has any hard evidence.”

The Finkler Question, which won the Man Booker Prize, has sold 42,500 e-books since its October release – almost 10 per cent of its 500,000 global sales. Kitchen confidential has sold 28,000 e-books.

Eat, Pray, Love and Operation Mincemeat have also performed strongly since their releases last year.

He said the firm has had a “great year” overall, with strong cash inflows and strong sales of stable staples such as Harry Potter.

He also said Bloomsbury has become less dependent on hit titles, working on “strong, dependable streams of repeatable revenue” such as annual almanacs.

He added: “We also have a 25-year track record of picking the hits and we have a number of strong books in the pipeline. We’ve had a very good January and February.”