HarperCollins has just given us another reminder of how the Big Five are trying to acquire their way out of a slump. The publisher announced its 4th quarter and annual fiscal reports this week, and the news was either good or bad depending on how closely you looked.
News Corp released results for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year yesterday. In the quarter ending 30 June, HarperCollins revenues were up 8%, to $390 million, while profit was flat at $33 million.
While revenues and profits were up overall, the increase can be directly attributed to last year's Harlequin acquisition. Take the Harlequin figures out and HarperCollins' revenues fall to $328 million, a decline of 9% from the same quarter in the previous financial year. Profits also declined 18%, to $27 million.
eBook sales made up 23% of HarperCollins' revenues for last quarter, and 22% for the year. Curiously, fourth quarter ebook revenues do not reflect the (expected) rising ebook prices following the new agency ebook contract which was announced in April 2015.
HarperCollins' annual revenues totaled $1.67 billion, up 16% from the previous year, while profit was $221 million, up 12%. Take away the Harlequin revenues and HarperCollins' sales dropped $31 million, to $1.4 billion. Profit was down was down $3 million, to $194 million.
According to the press release, HC attributed the rise in revenues to the Harlequin purchase and "strong backlist sales in the general books category" thanks to the continued sales of the blockbuster hit American Sniper, by Chris Kyle.
image by ActuaLitté