Penguin Sees Revenues Grow in 2009

March 4, 2010
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March 4 – March 11, 2010 Edition

Penguin Sees Revenues Grow in 2009

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/03/02/10—Penguin Group USA, in releasing preliminary results for 2009 (via parent company Pearson), reported an 11% increase in total revenue to just over £1 billion pounds in 2009 ($1.5 billion USD). However, operating profit fell 10% to £84 million ($125 million).

Penguin’s revenue growth was attributed to sales in the U.S. and large growth in international markets outside of the U.K. Excluding currency fluctuations, sales would have fallen only 1% and profits by 17%.

Penguin chairman John Makinson said he was pleased that the entire Penguin Group had done so well under difficult economic conditions in 2009.

Penguin USA CEO David Shanks said US performance was partly driven by strong second half sales of Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel, The Help (1.7 million copies in print), and the continuing popularity of established authors Charlaine Harris–who had 11 New York Times bestsellers last year and Nora Roberts.

In the US, Penguin had 30 #1 New York Times bestsellers, Penguin’s most ever, and placed 243 bestsellers on New York Times lists. In the UK, top-selling titles included Marian Keyes’ This Charming Man, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Ant and Dec’s Ooh! What a Lovely Pair and Antony Beevor’s D-Day. Penguin Children’s list had a very strong year with standout performances from brands such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar (which celebrated its 40th anniversary) and Peppa Pig. Through an iPhone app, consumers were offered a try-before-you-buy model of Paul Hoffman’s The Left Hand of God, providing free downloads.

The children’s publishing group, directed by Don Weisberg, improved both sales and profit margins. John Grisham will soon release his first children’s book at Penguin, a move that is expected to grow Penguin’s

children’s market share. He said he hopes Grisham is the first of a number of well known authors who will join the children’s group.

Both the children’s group and the adult group had higher sales of backlist titles.

Shanks said a new ordering system by Borders and improved efficiencies, including a decline in returns, had helped fuel better performance.

eBook sales grew fourfold on the previous year. 14,000 eBook titles are now available. eBook sales are expected to grow rapidly again in 2010, benefiting from the popularity of e-readers such as Amazon’s

Kindle, the Sony Reader and Barnes and Noble’s Nook as well as new devices such as Apple’s iPad.

While Penguin forecasts a broadly level 2010, executives said Penguin expects to benefit from its leading position in the emerging market for eBooks and from the efficiency actions taken in 2009.

Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, generates approximately 60% of its sales in the US.

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