Fifty Shades and Olympics harm Harry Potter printer Bloomsbury

HARRY Potter publisher Bloomsbury has seen profits almost halve in the last six months as sales of its children’s and educational books have suffered.

The firm also said sales of adult books had been lower than expected, due to the market being dominated by Fifty Shades Of Grey and the disruptive effect of the Olympics.

Chief executive Nigel Newton said yesterday that trading during the period had been “soft”, but said the firm’s results tend to be weighted towards the second half of the financial year due to more people buying books during the Christmas period.

Bloomsbury’s shares fell around five per cent yesterday as it posted a fall in pre-tax profit from £1.5m in the period last year to £850,000.

However, the firm was encouraged by growth in ebook sales. Bloomsbury made £4.5m from ebooks during the period. This is up 89 per cent on last year and now accounts for 10 per cent of the publisher’s £43.5m revenue.

A raft of new ereaders, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the iPad mini, is expected to boost ebook sales in the coming months.