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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 07:43 GMT
Bloomsbury posts wizard profits
Harry Potter book
Harry Potter book sales were boosted by the release of the film
Publishing group Bloomsbury has credited the Harry Potter phenomenon for a sharp jump in profits.

The company on Wednesday said pre-tax profits for 2001 soared to £9.3m, 62% up on the year, while sales rose 21% to £61m.

Bloomsbury also cited the successful launch of new electronic reference products, and the integration of its new subsidiary A&C Black, publisher of Who's Who.

The company said it expects another year of strong growth in 2002.

'The prospects for Bloomsbury in 2002 with the growth of our backlist, export, American and electronic sales are set to be excellent," said Bloomsbury chairman Nigel Newton.

In the City, Bloomsbury shares were marked 17.5p higher at 810p in mid-afternoon trade on Wednesday.

Publishing phenomenon

Author J K Rowling's Harry Potter books, recounting the adventures of a schoolboy wizard, took the publishing world by storm in 2001.

The books, which had already sold 130 million copies worldwide, surged up the bestseller lists again after the Harry Potter film was released late in the year.

Bloomsbury said it expects continued strong sales growth on the back of the Harry Potter phenomenon, with the next instalment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, due out in 2002.

The company noted that the books, primarily targeted at children, are proving equally popular with adults.

"Sales to adults, in particular, are building a huge new audience for the series," the company said in a statement.

Database plans

Other high-profile Bloomsbury books last year included novelist John Irving's The Fourth Hand and chef-turned author Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour, the company's best-selling title in the US.

Bloomsbury is hoping that new novels from Joanna Trollope and cult US author Donna Tartt will also help to drive growth in book sales next year.

The company added that it plans to start marketing a new database of business information to corporate information providers this year, a project which "could be a huge source of revenue in years to come."

See also:

26 Sep 01 | Business
Harry Potter brings wizard sales
24 Sep 01 | Film
Toy shop bans Harry Potter
28 Mar 01 | Business
Harry Potter and the profit hike
17 Jan 02 | Business
Bloomsbury set for wizard profits
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