Harry and Hancock work Bloomsbury magic

Demand for the latest Harry Potter book, the sixth instalment in the boy wizard series, has been "substantially higher" than Bloomsbury had anticipated, prompting the publishing house to raise its profit target for 2005.

Shares in the group set a new record after it predicted profits before tax and goodwill would be at least £20m, 10 per cent higher than it had guided analysts to expect. Its shares rose 19p to 325p.

Nigel Newton, the chairman, said the company had received "higher-than-expected advance sales" since it had announced the novel's release date in December. "We're sufficiently convinced [of the strength of demand] that we've pushed the forecasts up," he said. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be published at midnight on 16 July.

Despite the phenomenal success of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books, Bloomsbury has resisted the temptation to rely on the wizard's magic and has expanded its adult and reference publishing arms. It has also expanded into Germany and strengthened its presence in the US.

Mr Newton said progress in 2005 would come "across the board", predicting a novel from one of its new authors, Peter Prince, would be a big seller, as would a non-fiction title about "men and food" by William Leith. His comments came as Bloomsbury reported a 19 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £16.2m. Excluding goodwill amortisation and an exceptional gain from the sale of a freehold warehouse, profits rose 7 per cent to £16.4m.

The group had three number one best-sellers in each of its three markets: with Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in the US; The Two of Us, a book about John Thaw by his widow, Sheila Hancock, in the UK; and Schott's Original Miscellany in Germany. "This showed Bloomsbury has emerged as a fully fledged international publisher for the first time," Mr Newton said.

Bloomsbury is expanding the breadth of its children's publishing division, with a push into the pre-school market. It intends to add "critical mass" to its children's division by targeting strategic acquisitions.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Guru Careers: Communications Exec / PR Exec

£25 - £30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a highly-motivated and ambitious Comm...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral