Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury reports revenues rise

Bloomsbury Publishing brought in higher sales during the first half of the year as books for grown-ups stole the spotlight from the ever-popular Harry Potter series.

Total revenues were up 4% to £75.3 million in the six months to August 31, a period that is typically weaker for publishers due to the lack of Christmas sales and the timing of the academic year.

Pre-tax profits were broadly flat at £1.6m due to the acquisition of independent publisher I.B. Tauris.

Excluding one-off costs, adjusted pre-tax profits rose 13%.

Bloomsbury benefited from the enduring appeal of the Harry Potter titles, sales of which grew 5% in the period.

Excluding the boy wizard, children’s book sales were 9% lower year on year, however, due to fewer releases from fantasy author Sarah J. Maas.

Growth in the adult division was faster, jumping 22% to £15.9m as readers snapped up titles from the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Stuart Turton.

In non-consumer, Bloomsbury announced a deal with accountancy regulatory body the ICAEW to provide members with a subscription to its online tax and financial reporting content.

Chief executive Nigel Newtons said: “These strong results, following our excellent results for the interim and full year last year, demonstrates the underlying strength, resilience and further potential of our strategy.”

Top titles for Christmas are expected to include the new edition of J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard illustrated by Chris Riddell, The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton and Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start.

Analysts said the outlook for the company was positive.

“A good start to the year is an important basis for full-year delivery,” said Malcolm Morgan at Peel Hunt.

“Guidance is clear that the outlook for the full year is on track to meet the board’s expectation.”