Bloomsbury publications record midterm sales as bookworms rush to buy cookbooks and novels by Sarah J. Maas

  • Bloomsbury’s total revenue jumped 22% and profit 18%.
  • The Harry Potter series has remained one of the most profitable for the publisher
  • Cookbooks by Paul Hollywood and Tom Kerridge were also very popular

Popularity: The novels of Sarah J. were in great demand among buyers. Maas (pictured).

Bloomsbury published another half-year record as readers continued to snap up science books and children’s titles.

The London-based group’s total revenue rose 22 per cent to £122.9m and profits rose 18 per cent to £10.1m in the six months to August, compared with a year earlier.

As usual, the Harry Potter series remained one of the publisher’s most profitable, helping to boost sales in the children’s trade division by 30 per cent to £50.6m.

Purchases of these books rose by more than a third in the period, compared with just 5 percent in the previous 12 months, given the resurgence in popularity of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was published 25 years ago.

The novels of the American fantasy writer Sarah J. Maas also enjoyed much greater demand among buyers, up 45 percent year-on-year.

Popular titles included two from her Crescent City series, the recently released House of Sky and Breath and House of Earth and Blood, both of which became New York Times fiction bestsellers.

Crescent City follows the adventures of half-human, half-fairy Bryce Quinlan and fallen angel Hunt Atalar, who form a close relationship while battling the Asteri, a race of godlike conquerors who rule the fictional planet Midgard.

Other recent Bloomsbury chartbusters have been cookbooks by authors such as Paul Hollywood, Angela Hartnett and Tom Kerridge, or illustrated works by children’s author Martha Mumford.

“Throughout this cost-of-living crisis, books remain an affordable pleasure,” said Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive of Bloomsbury.

“Reading offers a form of escapism and the perfect – and inexpensive – therapy for dealing with the stresses and strains of everyday life.”

Newton also highlighted the successful expansion of Bloomsbury Digital Resources, which has more than doubled profits to £6.6m following the acquisition of California-based ABC-CLIO and Red Globe Press (RGP).

Bloomsbury’s takeover of the former group was part of a strategy to increase the presence of academic and digital publishers in the United States, the world’s largest academic market.

Its acquisition helped boost sales at the company’s non-consumer division by almost a quarter to £46.6m and pre-tax profits by more than half to £7.1m.

Since the pandemic began two and a half years ago, the business has seen an increase in sales as people seek to occupy more and more of the time they spend indoors.

Trading has remained strong since the lifting of lockdown restrictions, with half-year revenue up 57 per cent on 2020 levels, while pre-tax profit rose 327 per cent.

Meaning Shares of Bloomsbury Publishing has grown by about 94 percent in the past two years. They closed up 9.8 percent at 448.5 pence on Wednesday.

Ross Broadfoot and Alastair Reid, analysts at Investec, kept their buy rating on Bloomsbury, saying: “Bloomsbury’s virtuous flywheel continues to be evident.”

They added: “Upfront investment in high-quality content drives strong customer demand, creating cash flow to fund further investment that supports future growth, to some extent independent of the underlying macroeconomic environment.”