Harry Potter publisher sees profits surge

 
Steve Dinneen
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HARRY Potter publisher Bloomsbury posted a 52 per cent rise in its first-half profits after sales of ebooks went through the roof.

The firm saw digital sales increase by almost six-fold to £2.5m, jumping to 5.5 per cent of the group’s overall sales.

Pre-tax profit beat expectations to hit £2.2m for the half, compared with £1.4m the year before. Revenue rose 16 per cent to £44.9m.

The results were buoyed by the release of the latest movie version of JK Rowling’s boy-wizard, which led to a surge in book sales. Bloomsbury is also set for a boost when Rowling’s online Harry Potter ebook store, Pottermore, finally opens. It was slated for an October release but has been delayed after its beta version experienced greater than expected traffic.

While Rowling has always maintained the digital rights to the books, Bloomsbury says it will receive a slice of the revenues.

Other strong sellers include 2010 Man Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question, which has shifted 700,000 copies worldwide.

The company’s shares, which have lost 24 per cent since the acquisition of Continuum International Publishing Group, closed up one per cent last night.

The firm has warned the consumer economy remains at its worst for decades and it remains cautious.