In the last three months of 2021, which include the critically important holiday shopping period, HarperCollins sales increased by 13% and generated $617 million dollars in sales. Digital sales rose 8% in the quarter compared to the prior year, driven by growth in downloadable audiobooks. Audiobook and ebook sales represented 17% of HarperCollins overall revenue, which accounted for $104 million in sales.
News Corp reported that among revenue growth drivers were higher front list sales in HC’s general books group, including Twelve and a Half by Gary Vaynerchuk, The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, and The Storyteller by Dave Grohl. Sales were also up at HarperCollins Christian Publishing and at the United Kingdom division, while sales of children’s books fell.
News Corp CFO Susan Panuccio said that while book industry trends remain generally favorable, the company is “clearly mindful of the uncertainty and lack of visibility from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including the potential cost impacts from continued supply chain pressures, particularly in book publishing.” Asked about the effect of higher inflation by analysts, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said it is “an important issue,” and the company has told its businesses to be “cost conscious.”