PEARSON, the owner of publisher Penguin, yesterday admitted its own sales had suffered as erotic best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey dominated the market.
E L James’s novel, published by rival Vintage Books, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and beaten the Harry Potter series as the fastest-selling paperback of all time.
Penguin, which published 49 best-sellers in the six months to June, saw sales fall 4 per cent to £441 million in the half as James’ novel and teen-fiction The Hunger Games reigned over the book market.
Parent company Pearson, which also has a large education division and owns the Financial Times newspaper, saw overall sales rise 7 per cent to £2.6 billion and underlying operating profits drop 10 per cent to £188m.
Its newspaper arm saw sales grow 6 per cent to £216m and profits rise 5 per cent to £22m.
Chief executive Marjorie Scardino said more people were buying FT news online than in printed copy for the first time, a milestone in its target of supplying more and more content digitally across Pearson.
Scardino admitted : “Conditions have been tough in the early part of this year and, for a couple of parts of Pearson, tougher than expected.”
But the group, which is heavily weighted towards the second half and the start of the academic year, stuck to its target of growing sales and operating profit for the year.
“That’s quite an achievement given the turbulent economic climate that all companies are facing,” said Scardino.
Shares in Pearson closed down 64p, or 4.95 per cent, at 1,230p yesterday.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east