The French media conglomerate Lagardere released some details from their quarterly report today, and the figures for the publishing division might shock you. When compared to 2010 , sales were down 5% last quarter at Lagardere Publishing (down to 601 million euros), with the US and UK markets seeing an even steeper drop (8% and 10%).
The drop at Hachette, the US sub, is being blamed on cheaper ebooks and the death of Borders. Lagardere also reported that when Stephenie Meyer’s book were excluded from the accounting, sales were actually up a fraction of a percent.Even so, ebook sales were still up at Hachette, and they now account for 21% of revenue for the first 3 quarters, and that’s up from 9% revenue last year.
While that might look astounding, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Our last report from Lagardere indicated that ebooks accounted for 20% of Hachette’s revenue in the first half of this year. Today’s news is still a sizable increase, yes, but not an earth shattering kaboom.
But there is a bit of news that odes qualify as earth shattering. US ebook sales are great, but in the UK they account for 9% of revenue. Given that the UK market is significantly less well developed than the US market, 9% is a surprising chunk of change.
Just to put these numbers into perspective, Wiley reported that ebook sales nearly tripled last quarter, Simon & Schuster reported ebooks at 17% of revenue, and Penguin reporting a doubling in ebook sales recently.