Harry Potter Spurs Growth at Hachette While Ebooks Decline
Today Lagardère, the parent company of the Hachette Book Group, released its third quarter finances for 2016. The U.S.-based Hachette Book Group saw a 12.9% revenue gain thanks to the positive reception of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Hachette U.K. revenue was up 30.1%, again due to the release of the latest Harry Potter book. Total Q3 revenue for Lagardère Publishing was about $1.8 billion, up 4.5% from Q3 2015.
Ebooks accounted for a smaller share of Lagardère’s 2016 revenue than in 2015. Last year ebooks contributed 7.9% of Lagardère Publishing’s Q3 revenue and have decreased to just 6.8% of revenue in Q3 2016. That decline seems to be part of a much larger trend in the industry in which ebook sales have plateaued or declined for many publishers.
There has been some debate as to why ebooks sales have stalled. Some pundits site the resilience of print as a format, while others claim ebook sales are actually growing, just not for traditional publishers. And still other leaders in the industry believe that this lull in ebook consumption is just that -- a calm before greater disruption and innovation in the ebook market. Hachette Digital’s executive director Neil DeYoung told Book Business in a recent interview that ebooks will undoubtedly become the dominant format in the publishing industry, and that book publishers need to prepare for that future. “It’s not going to happen five years or even ten years from now, but preparing for that now is really important for the long term health of any publisher,” said Young.
Meanwhile, relying on massive bestsellers like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to drive revenue may not be a sustainable strategy for publishers.
Read the complete Q3 financial report from Lagardère here.
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Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.