Sales at Lagardere Publishing of 433 million euros fell 6.5 percent in the first quarter (ending March 31), attributed to the “expected erosion” in sales of Stephenie Meyer books. Digital book sales, however, were “buoyant,” comprising “some 8 percent” of US revenues in the first quarter.
The company says that “the current pace of growth in digital books – in particular with the arrival of the iPad” could wind up having “a very slightly positive effect” on their full-year earnings.
In the short term, the publication of Meyer’s novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner on June 5 “is good news” (even the French edition will have a 500,000-copy first printing).
Currency fluctuations could also lift their second quarter performance if current trends continue. The dollar has gained about 6 percent against the euro since the beginning of April and even the British pound is currently up over 3 percent against the euro in the same time period–which would make the sales of HBG’s US and UK units worth more when converted into euros if current trends hold.