Traditional Publishing

A Very Profitable Quarter for Four Big Publishers – Saturday November 10, 2018

If the U.S. publishing business is mired in a slow-growth environment, you wouldn’t know it from the third-quarter results of four of the country’s largest trade houses. All three of the companies that reported sales as well as earnings saw profits grow at a faster rate than revenue, improving operating margins at the publishers.

Strong backlist sales were an important factor in boosting revenue and profits in the quarter, especially at HarperCollins. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose nearly 42% at the company compared to the third quarter of 2017, and Susan Panuccio, CFO of HC parent company News Corp, said this was largely due to strong backlist sales led by The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and The Hate U Give. Backlist sales contributed 55% of total revenue in the most recent quarter, Panuccio noted. Overall, sales were led by a better-than-expected performance in the U.S., she added.

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