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Publishers pin hopes on Christmas

by Louisa Klein

Penguin is the only publisher out of the Big Four to have grown its market share over the first three quarters of 2010, according to Nielsen BookScan UK sales figures for the 36 weeks to 4th September.
Despite a fall of -4% in the total value of book sales, when comparing the period year-on- year, publishers felt Christmas would be strong. Hachette’s Tim Hely Hutchinson was confident of “an outstanding finish to the year”.
Penguin grew market share by 0.8% compared to the same period in 2009, up from 9.7% to 10.5%. Sales also grew by 4% to £104.3m, with deputy c.e.o Tom Weldon also optimistic about the final quarter.
He said: “We are looking forward to one of our strongest Christmases ever with Jamie Oliver, Michael McIntyre, Stephen Fry and A History of the World in 100 Objects flying.” He attributed this year’s success to a variety of titles across the business.
HarperCollins saw the biggest market share decline within the top group of publishers, dropping to 7.2% from 8% when compared to the same point in 2009. A HarperCollins statement said the publisher was focusing its business by reducing its frontlist trade title count by around a third year-on-year, which affected revenues. It emphasised growth in digital and a double-digit increase in language, geography and education. “We are very positive about the prospects for Christmas,” it said. We will definitely see what Xmas will bring to publishers: either sweets or… coal!

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