Penguin Random House has just reported a 23.7% increase in operating EBITDA in 2015 over 2014 and an 11.8% rise in revenue. The company also reported that they generated over €3.32 billion in book sales. How much of this revenue stemmed from e-books? Sadly, the publisher did not break down the numbers but did admit that they accounted for 25% of their global revenue.
One of the most interesting aspects about Penguin Random House’s 2015 financial report was that 50% of of their total revenue came from online retailers. This not only includes e-books, but also print.
Among the publisher’s top-selling books worldwide was Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, which sold more than seven million copies in the English- and German-speaking world across all PRH formats. Grey, the new E.L. James novel in the Fifty Shades series, sold 8.5 million copies in English, German, and Spanish. Exceptional bestsellers in children’s and young adult books included Dr. Seuss titles, which collectively sold 10.8 million copies, Bertelsmann said.
In the U.S., sales and earnings both rose in 2015 over 2014. America accounted for 56.8% of total PRH revenue last year (about $2.05 billion at year-end exchange rates, though PRH declined to confirm that number), compared to 55.6% of all revenue in 2014. Among the books that led sales in the U.S. were Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Numerous children’s books did very well, Bertelsmann said, including Paper Towns by John Green, and new titles by James Dashner and Rick Yancey.
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.