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Bloomsbury Publishing, which operates in both the U.S. and UK (and is the UK publisher of the Harry Potter series) is seeing “unprecedented” digital growth: E-book sales are up 564 percent for the six-month period ending August 31, 2011, bringing the company revenues of £2.5 ($4) million–compared to just £0.4 ($0.65) million for the same period in 2010. Total sales for the period were £44.9 ($71.93) million.
E-books now make up 5.5 percent of sales across the U.S. and UK. Bloomsbury didn’t break out e-book sales percentages by country. Big U.S. publishers Random House and Hachette are now reporting that e-books now make up around 20 percent of their sales; the figure is 15 percent at Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS), at least 12 percent at HarperCollins U.S. and 14 percent at Penguin worldwide.
Bloomsbury said it made “great progress” in acquiring world English rights for its titles, which many publishers believe is crucial as English-language e-book sales grow around the world.
One of Bloomsbury’s bestselling titles this year was Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life, which the company published in 2008. Over 1 million copies of that title have now been sold in paperback–thanks in part, perhaps, to the renewed interest in the title sparked by its inclusion in Kindle’s Sunshine Deals program this summer.
Bloomsbury also continues to see high Harry Potter sales, “with strong revenue at an above average cost of sale” in the UK, thanks to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II and the launch of J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore.com.