HarperCollins has joined Simon & Schuster and Penguin in reporting increased sales for their most recent quarter, ending June 30, at $302 million, up over 8 percent from $278 million a year ago. Profits are still lagging, however, with an operating loss of $1 million–matching the loss from this time a year ago (though they were up $3 million prior to depreciation and amortization).
For the full fiscal year, Harper recorded sales of $1.269 billion, recovering 11 percent after a poor fiscal 2009, with operating income of $88 million–hardly a stellar performance, but much improved from just $17 million in income the year before, and still a nearly 7 percent margin. The company credits “higher electronic sales” and Sarah Palin from the general books division, and says Lauren Conrad, The Vampire Diaries and Maurice Sendak contributed to an “increase” in children’s books.
Sales have risen for the last three quarters, though of course the comparative bar has been set lower. (For a longer horizon, Harper had sales of $350 million in this quarter in 2008, and sales of $295 million the year before.)
In a separate statement, ceo Brian Murray said: “We were pleased with our fiscal year earnings as they exceeded our expectations in a challenging marketplace that is in transition. All divisions delivered improvements over the prior year, with general books and children’s far exceeding expectations.
“We continue to reposition the company to meet the emerging digital market by investing in new businesses, new content and in new skills, while simultaneously streamlining operations to improve efficiencies…. Our e-book sales were up more than 250 percent over last year, and we expect that trend to continue as the installed base of e-readers grows, distribution increases worldwide, and new distributors enter the e-book market. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in book publishing.”
In other earnings reports, Quercus is finally seeing some cash from the Stieg Larsson franchise (for which they control world English rights). In a brief trading update on the first six months of their fiscal year, they said that sales almost tripled to 15 million pounds, up from 5.55 million pounds a year ago. The company reversed their loss from this time a year ago to operating profit of 3.4 million pounds.