Bloomsbury, the Harry Potter publisher, has enjoyed record sales and profits on the back of the popularity of titles including Tom Kerridge’s latest cookbook during the coronavirus pandemic despite supply chain problems.
The company, The Guardian reports, said the increase in reading had continued, as people “rediscovered the joy of reading” during the coronavirus pandemic, with fantasy, escapism, social inclusion and cookery all selling well.
According to the report, revenues for the six months to the end of August were also boosted by customers ordering earlier than in previous years. Book sales, along with many other consumer products, usually peak in the three months running up to Christmas. Shops and online retailers have ramped up stock levels to ensure they have sufficient stock for Christmas.
Last month, publishers and retailers warned of potential delays on Christmas books because the national shortage of lorry drivers has affected deliveries. Waterstones, the UK’s biggest high street bookseller, said it had upped stocks of books by a quarter.
Faced with the supply chain problems, Bloomsbury resorted to earlier printing, well ahead of its usual peaks in the run-up to Christmas and the beginning of the academic year in the autumn, and has been flexible about where it is printing.
Its consumer division posted 29% revenue growth, according to unaudited first-half results.
Bestsellers included books by the American fantasy author Sarah J Maas about female warriors, such as A Court of Silver Flames, as well as the fantasy novels Piranesi by Susanna Clarke and The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, both British writers, and Outdoor Cooking from the Michelin-starred chef Kerridge. The company said Harry Potter sales were also good.