Hachette is one of the largest publishers in the world and have released their financial earnings report that covered the first three months of 2020. One of the more interesting things has to do with digital audiobooks and ebook sales. Downloadable audio accounted for 14.4% of HBG’s revenue in the quarter, up from 10% a year earlier. E-books accounted for 16.8% of total revenue in the first quarter of 2020, down from 17.4% in the first quarter of 2019. In all, for the first quarter of the year, digital sales were up 6.8%.
Publishing sales fell 0.8% in the first quarter compared to the same time last year. The company generated €457 million. In the first two months of the year, sales increased by 5.3%, but fell 19% in March. This was primarily due to bookstores all over the world closing, from the biggest chains to indie bookshops. Distribution warehouses were also closed in March, preventing bookstores from fulfilling online orders for books they were sold out of. Amazon also implemented a 2-3 week delay on all book orders, because they were focusing on medical and household goods.
Hachette said that during April they expect their global publishing business to fall 45% for the month, but would not forecast beyond that.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.