In the first six months of 2020, Penguin Random House announced that total revenue fell 8.9% and the publisher generated €7.85 billion Overall profit fell to €488 million from €502 million in the first six months of 2019. The pandemic was one of the reasons why book sales fell, globally. The publishers investment in digital, was one of the big reasons why the loss wasn’t greater.
Penguin Random House PRH global CEO Markus Dohle he cited the publishers ability to capture more online sales as lockdowns slowed sales through physical stores. “We never could’ve predicted a global pandemic, but we’ve been working toward a world in which online sales channels would have an even larger share of our overall book sales,” Dohle said . “A world in which we would need to activate every single competitive advantage we have been investing into over the last 10 plus years. So now is the time. The time to benefit from all our investments into supply chain, into corporate marketing, into consumer marketplace developments, and to focus even more on driving sales online.”
The increase in online sales is reflected in the growth of digital revenue in the first six months of the year, with digital sales across the company up 15% over the comparable period a year ago. This includes audiobooks and ebook sales.
Penguin Random House has a strong winter list of books that should help propel revenue in the second half of 2020. Upcoming titles include Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline, Book of Two ways by Jodi Picoult, Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey and a slew of others. There have been some big investments in the supply chain, and many bookstores have reopened, more should reopen in time for the holiday shopping rush.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve 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. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.