A one-time charge associated with the sale of Quarto's Books & Gifts Direct business resulted in an operating loss for the company in 2016, but sales and profits in its core publishing operations rose.
The lack of a mega-bestseller was one factor in the 9.6% drop in revenue at Penguin Random House in 2016; earnings in the year fell 3.6% compared to 2015. Operating margins, however, improved to 16.0% in 2016, up from 15.0% in 2015.
The 2016 publishing sales data shared by Author Earnings at Digital Book World reminded me of all the times I have been the sad-sack tasked with managing the “death squeeze.” I went through it in the consumer photo business, the paper atlas business, and then the CD-ROM mapping software business. Each of these industries relied…