Bloomsbury: Publisher sees record profits as people turned to reading during lockdown

‘The popularity of reading has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark year,’ publisher’s chief executive says

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 02 June 2021 17:27
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<p>The past year has seen an uptick in reading driven by the pandemic</p>

The past year has seen an uptick in reading driven by the pandemic

Publishing giant Bloomsbury has reported record annual profits, with pandemic lockdowns seemingly behind the surge in book purchases.

The publisher, which is best known for printing JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, saw sales rise by 14 per cent to a total of £185m, while profits rose by more than 20 per cent to £19.2m.

Bloomsbury outperformed the rest of the publishing sector, which saw a sales increase of two per cent.

Speaking to the BBC, Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton said: “The popularity of reading has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark year.”

The company’s academic division reported strong sales growth, driven by a national shift towards remote or online learning.

Newton added that those who had “rediscovered the joy of reading” would “cling on to that even as other ways of spending their time re-emerge”.

Bookshops across England and Wales were reopened in April as part of an incremental easing of lockdown restrictions, something which Newton described as a “complete game-changer”.

Sales of the Harry Potter series experienced a rise over the last year of just seven per cent.

You can click here for a rundown of The Independent’s books of the month for June 2021, which includes Sinead O’Connor’s candid new memoir Rememberings and Animal by Lisa Taddeo.

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