Summary:

E-books now make up about a fifth of “big six” publisher Hachette’s U.S. sales, but net sales for the quarter were down overall.

E-books now make up about a fifth of “big six” publisher Hachette’s U.S. sales, but net sales for the quarter were down overall.

Hachette parent company Lagardère announced its Q3 2011 earnings today. Sales for the publishing division as a whole were down 2.5 percent on a like-for-basis, to €601 million for the quarter.

Net sales were down “significantly” in English-speaking countries, falling 8 percent in the U.S. and 10 percent in the UK. (Sales numbers were not broken out for those countries.) Lagardère ascribed those declines to e-books, “which result in lower sales but higher margins,” and “the difficulties of certain retailers (e.g., the bankruptcies of Borders in the US and REDgroup in Australia).

E-book growth continued; e-books now account for 21 percent of net sales in the U.S. (about the same since Q2 2011, and up from just 9 percent this time last year) and 9 percent in the UK, ad Lagardère predicts that the October launch of the Kindle in France should help e-book sales in that market take off.

I’ve updated our Publishers’ Digital Revenues chart with Hachette’s latest.

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