Another incredibly sensible acquisition by Bloomsbury and yet another that pulls them further away from the territory of a strict trade publisher. Good for them:
Bloomsbury’s strategy has been to increase its proportion of academic and professional revenues compared to trade revenues through retail channels. The current strength of the Groups academic sales compared to consumer sales vindicates this strategy. Academic revenues are more predictable and have lower related costs of sale with resulting higher margins, and are much less reliant on retail bookshop sales. Around 60% of Continuums sales are outside the UK, thereby increasing Bloomsburys exposure to the global book market. Through this acquisition, for the first time, Bloomsbury will have an academic editorial and marketing team in the US. Bloomsbury has an excellent track record in exploiting digital opportunities; this acquisition will enable us to develop Continuums 7,000 strong backlist through conversion to e-book formats and the creation of new subscription based academic services.
via booktrade.info – Book Trade Announcements – Bloomsbury Acquires Continuum.
An interesting and sensible move this:
Bloomsbury has purchased the backlist of The National Archives Publishing programme, and entered into an agreement to co-publish a range of forthcoming titles.
The National Archives of the United Kingdom, in Kew, holds more than 1,000 years of government files from Foreign and Home Office records to colonial and military documents, with more than 80 million digitised records.
via Bloomsbury acquires National Archives backlist | The Bookseller.
Clock this one up to a great real-world play that adds value to an existing portfolio of titles and content while also building on Osprey’s digital potential. Old House seems like the perfect fit for Shire and like some of Bloomsbury’s recent acquisitions the opportunities to create something that extends the brand into digital publishing is very real. Oddly enough too, the acquisition suggests that Richard Charkin’s comments at the ‘Are Publisher’s Relevant?’ debate yesterday about how the new digital age makes strict focus (here’s hoping I didn’t pick him up incorrectly) less important when building list has a real-life example, Osprey the home of a heritage, a military and a science-fiction imprint!
Rebecca Smart, Osprey Groups Managing Director, said:Old House is my ideal addition to the Osprey family. Weve worked incredibly hard with Shire over the last four years, and with real success, to establish ourselves as a major force in the British heritage market. The addition of Old House, especially bearing in mind our plans to grow and diversify its list, will really help to consolidate our position in that sector.
via booktrade.info – Book Trade Announcements – Osprey Group To Acquire Old House Books And Maps.
There’s a paragraph on Bloomsbury’s Strategy page on their website that always grabs me. It reads:
A key element to Bloomsbury’s strategy is to broaden the base on which it acquires and exploits intellectual property. This began in 1994 with retaining paperback rights and moving into children’s publishing. With the advent of the internet, the company identified a growing demand for quality on-line reference content which culminated in the development of our first major database, The Encarta World English Dictionary.
The reason it grabs me is that you can see the company put that paragraph into action very regularly. The latest is Reeds Nautical Almanac from their A&C Black division (the location of some of their most interesting properties).
I wrote before about Bloomsbury that:
It further occurs to me that nearly all the moves place them in a position to exploit the brand potential of all these properties and to do that through new digital avenues if and when they choose to
That still holds true and when you check the site out, you do begin to wonder why it wasn’t done before, but that’s not the point. This is strategy in action before our eyes. What’s more, it’s a sensible strategy that’s moving physical products and customers towards digital models in an un-hyped way.
It shows the value of intellectual property that has something that can be made available as an online service as well as a print product. Sure it brings its own worries and concerns, but it also offers opportunities and real hope for a future for publishing and publishers.
Maybe it should be more hyped! Or maybe more publishers should copy them!
In what is a fascinating piece for a number of reasons, The Telegraph reports on Bloomsbury’s successes in selling ebooks. I’m struck most forcefully by three things:
- Richard Charkin is as refreshingly open, honest and forthright as ever, which is good to see. We still miss his blog though.
- Bloomsbury have been playing the game pretty well on the library front and their partnership with Exact Editions seems to be yielding dividends.
- Charkin highlights the speed at which older readers are taking up ebooks. I’m not terribly surprised by this, but it is interesting, considering they remain amongst the most loyal readers!
Richard Charkin, executive director, said: “If sales continue the way they have in January and February, which we would fully expect, they are going to be off the scale. If that is an indicator of future growth then we expect digital sales of Bloomsbury titles be as high as 25pc of sales. They could be even higher.”
Bloomsbury, which reported £90.7m sales and £5.5m of pre-tax profits last year, would not reveal what proportion of profits ebook sales were likely to account for in 2011, but it is expected to be considerably higher than 25pc. Digital book margins are higher because there are no printing costs involved nor any extra costs incurred by over-estimating print runs or pulping books with errors in them. “The biggest saving is in cock-ups,” Mr Charkin said.
via Bloomsbury sees ebook sales leap – Telegraph.