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Summary:

Digital now accounts for 11.3 percent of Hachette’s sales worldwide, and about 20 percent of Random House’s

Lagardére, parent company of book publisher Hachette, and Bertelsmann, parent company of book publisher Random House, both announced financial results for the first six months of 2013.

Of the two, Lagardère provided more detail on digital results:

  • Digital made up 11.3 percent of Lagardère Publishing’s net sales worldwide, compared to 8.4 percent a year ago.
  • Ebooks now account for 34 percent of adult trade book sales in the U.S., compared to 27 percent last year, and 31 percent in the U.K., up from 22 percent last year.
  • In France, digital sales are much smaller, though growing: Ebooks accounted for 3.2 percent of adult trade book sales there, up from 1 percent last year.

There’s less digital stuff from Bertelsmann. The company just noted that at Random House Germany, digital now accounts for 10 percent of revenues. Worldwide the figure is around 20 percent, company spokesman Stuart Applebaum told me.

Also of note at Bertelsmann: This was its last Penguin-less financial report, as Penguin and Random House have now merged to form the world’s largest book publisher. Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle wrote in a letter to employees:

“In our first weeks as a united company we’ve already enjoyed great attention for several of our early successes. In the U.S. we have had sleeper hits with the #1 bestselling ZEALOT by Reza Aslan and THIS TOWN by Mark Leibovich. John Williams’s STONER and I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes achieved sales breakthroughs in the UK, where Sylvia Day’s ENTWINED WITH YOU topped The Bookseller’s first-ever official eBook sales ranking. THE AUSTRALIAN MOMENT by George Megalogenis and John van de Ruit’s SPUD series were honored with major literary prizes in Australia and South Africa respectively. Substantial media coverage is boosting sales in New Zealand for books by Michael Van de Elzen and Lynley Dodd. Random House India published its first enhanced eBook, and Penguin India’s AN UNCERTAIN GLORY by Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen has created a national debate.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Thomas Bethge

  1. It needs to be noted that Hachette is the publisher of JK Rowling & Random House enjoyed the 50 Shades phenomenon for a 2nd year…the sales associated with those leading titles could have pushed & pulled the e-book sales into a higher proportion than without them. It’s worth investing what the format pie chart would look like if those properties were backed out. The 50 Shades thing was, in particular, a rather unique phenomenon for a publisher.

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