Lagardère's Q1 Publishing Revenues Down, E-book Sales Up
Lagardère announced first quarter consolidated revenues today of €1,805m ($2,677 million U.S.), an increase of 3.1% as reported (up 0.1% like-for-like, at constant consolidation and exchange rates).
According to Lagardère's press release, the publishing division's first quarter revenues of €390m ($598 million U.S.) are, as expected, down 9.8% from Q1 2010 as reported and down 10.4% on a like-for-like basis. "As a reminder," states the release, "first quarter typically accounts for less than 20% of annual revenue and is not an indicator of full-year performance."
The trend is based on a challenging comparative with an excellent first quarter in 2010, when the publishing division benefitted from robust sales of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" saga in English-speaking countries and strong rights income for Hachette Book Group. However, "EBook sales momentum was considerable" in the first quarter of 2011, "up 88% compared to Q1 2010, accounting for approximately 22% of revenue in the United States." Brisk sales in the U.S. for reading devices at the end of 2010 are a key factor in the explosive growth of digital reading in the first three months of this year. HBG has had 23 titles on the New York Times eBook bestseller list since the list's debut on February 13, 2011.
Lagardère's overall profitability remains stable, with other divisions (notably Lagardère Active and Lagardère Unlimited) delivering good results, and the publishing division seeing continued growth in eBook revenue. The outlook for 2011, according to the press release, is positive for Lagardère Publishing, predicting continued growth in eBook sales at HBG to 15-20% of revenues. EBooks could account for 5-10% of revenues in the UK this year.
Hachette Book Group's first quarter bestselling titles include James Patterson's "TickTock and Toys," Brad Meltzer's "The Inner Circle," Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's "Gideon's Sword," and Stacy Schiff's "Cleopatra." HBG has had 75 titles hit the New York Times print bestseller list to date in 2011, with 14 No. 1 bestsellers.