News Review The headlines: in brief

PRH and Bertelsmann report robust results despite effects of pandemic



Penguin Random House saw double- digit organic growth in the first half of 2021, while parent company Bertelsmann achieved record results with revenues of €8.7bn (£7.5bn), “significantly” above the year before and pre-Covid levels. PRH’s global revenues rose 10.9% in the six months to 30th June 2021, hiting €1.8bn (£1.5bn), compared to €1.6bn (£1.3bn) in the same period last year. Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased 55% from €209m (£179m) to €324m (£277m). Bertelsmann said the publishing group was one of its top performing subsidiaries, with Barack Obama’s A Promised Land singled out for selling 750,000 copies across all formats in North America in the first half of the year, bringing total sales to more than eight million copies worldwide.

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Changes to current copyright laws could put up to 64% of publisher book revenue at risk, according to Publishers Association research. It said a post-Brexit move towards an international exhaustion regime being considered by the Intellectual Property Office would “spell disaster” for the UK industry, with a projected loss of up to £2.2bn per year. A consultation on the proposed changes closed on 31st August.

Rights deal

Writers line up for new Miss Marple stories Kate Mosse left, Val McDermid and Elly Griffiths are among 12 writers penning the first new Miss Marple stories since creator Agatha Christie’s final mystery 45 years ago. They are to be published as a collection by HarperCollins. A deal for world English language rights was negotiated by HarperCollins UK and William Morrow in the US with Agatha Christie Ltd, along with representation for the contributing authors. The collection will be published simultaneously in the US and UK in September 2022.

32 3rd September 2021 Stat

In a note to staff, PRH chief executive officer Markus Dohle said: “Our performance was mainly driven by a strong book market in some of our large territories and the recovery from last year’s revenue losses due to the Covid- 19 crisis in other regions.

“Our collaborative spirit has long been a hallmark of the way we work, but over the past year we’ve come to rely on one another even more. We have learned about and shared content, market developments, consumer trends, and data across geographic and organisational boundaries to spur our collective growth in spite of challenges presented by the ongoing global pandemic. The remaining months of 2021 bring new areas to navigate: the development of hybrid work models and the opportunit to meet voracious customers’ demand for books.”

Hachette signs up Supervet Fitzpatrick Hachette Children’s Group has acquired the first children’s book from Noel Fitzpatrick, star of Channel 4’s “The Supervet”. Kate Agar, editorial director, acquired world rights from Amanda Harris, m.d. of YMU Books. Middle-grade title Vetman and his Bionic Animal Clan will be published in hardback on 28th October 2021 by the Hodder Children’s Books imprint. A paperback will follow in autumn 2022. Vetman is inspired by a superhero Fitzpatrick first imagined as a child.

W H Smith reports results ahead of expectations W H Smith expects its 2021 full-year results to be slightly ahead of expec- tations following improved revenues in US Travel stores. Group revenues in the eight weeks

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Novelist Jessie Burton and children’s book author @SmritiPH are among the judges confirmed for the 2021 @CostaBookAwards

to 28th August 2021 rose to 71% of levels in the same period in 2019. For the second half of the year, sales were at 65% of 2019 levels, up from 60% in the first half. In Travel, revenue hit 64% of

2019 levels in July and August, although the UK side was at just 38%. However, its US Travel business performed well, with sales at 93% of 2019 levels. For the High Street, revenue for the

eight weeks was at 84% of the same period in 2019. It predicts a return to pre-Covid

revenue levels in the next two to three years, but profitability for the year ending August 2022 will be “at the lower end of market expectations”.

Photography: Ruth Crafer

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