Publisher reports 'another strong year', though parent company's report is more modest
Revenue at Lagardere Publishing in 2018 was €2.252m, down 1.6% on a consolidated basis and down 1.2% on a like-for-like basis from 2017. Profit (EBIT) was also down, from €210m to €190m. Lagardere reported that revenues at its subsidiary Hachette UK were down 0.5%, with a downturn in education partially offset by "good momentum" in trade publishing thanks to hits including JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury. Hachette in the US was up 3.7%.
However, Hachette UK itself reported "another strong year", with its sales budget beaten and growth of 7.1%. The publisher achieved some of this growth thanks to the 2017 acquisitions of Bookouture, Summersdale, Kyle Books and Jessica Kingsley Publishers. But there was "organic" growth too, with increased sales of non-fiction in particular. Profits were also ahead of budget.
The company reported:
"2018 was an exceptional year for John Murray Press, with Brief Answers to Big Questions by Stephen Hawking being one of Hachette's biggest selling titles of the year; for Orion, whose Listening to the Animals: Becoming a Supervet and Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book were amongst the biggest selling titles at Christmas; and for Little, Brown, whose Fire and Fury stormed the bestseller lists at the very beginning of the year and sold strongly in all formats and in all territories through the year. Other major non-fiction bestsellers in the year include Factfulness (Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton), Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different (Quercus) and Michael Caine's Blowing the Bloody Doors Off (Hodder & Stoughton)
In fiction, Lethal White by Robert Galbraith and Fantastic Beasts: The Crises of Grindelwald by JK Rowling (Little, Brown), Ian Rankin's In a House of Lies (Orion) and John Grisham's The Reckoning were amongst the group's biggest sellers.
2018 was another year of exceptional double-digit growth in audio and despite a general downturn in the ebook market, Hachette held level and was, once again, estimated by the Bookseller to be the top ebook publisher.
Hodder Education remains the second largest education publisher in the UK and despite very stretched school budgets and no curriculum change in the year, it tracked the market in the UK and delivered excellent results particularly in the areas of Assessment and in international markets.
Hachette India celebrated its 10th anniversary with another strong year of sales and profit.
Over the course of the second half of the year, publishers distributed by LBS moved into the new Hely Hutchinson Centre, which is the most ambitiously conceived distribution centre of its kind in Europe.
Changing the Story, HUK's diversity and inclusion movement, went from strength to strength with over 800 members of staff actively engaged. The company's commitment is reflected in its publishing including in the successful launch of Dialogue Books.