Bloomsbury’s sales have increased by 14%, which the publishing company has attributed to people “rediscovering the joy of reading” during lockdown.
The company said fantasy, escapism, social inclusion and cookery all sold well during the pandemic, including successful bestseller titles such as Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni-Eddo Lodge and A Court of Thorns and Roses series by fantasy author Sarah J. Maas.
Bloomsbury performed significantly better than the wider UK publishing market, which recorded a 2% rise in sales during 2020, according to data from the Publishers Association.
Bloomsbury’s chief executive Nigel Newton said that he expects the demand to continue, as “The reopening of bookshops on 12 April has been a complete gamechanger and what we have seen in the period since then is the combined success of online and digital sales and high street sales around the world”.
The results prompted Bloomsbury to raise its final dividend 10% to 7.58p per share, on top of a special dividend of 9.78p a share to compensate shareholders for a cancelled payout in 2020. Earlier this year, the group repaid the government furlough support that it received in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
These financial profits have soothed fears for publishing professionals that the demand for reading may wane once the lockdown restrictions eased.