HarperCollins global revenues grew 4% to $550m (£436m) in the three months to 31st December 2023, compared to the same period last year, primarily driven by higher digital sales, which benefited from strong audiobooks performance and improved return rates.

Figures from parent firm News Corp showed earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 67% to $85m (£57m) from $51m (£40m) the year before. The publisher said this was primarily driven by higher revenues as well as lower manufacturing, freight and distribution costs “driven by product mix and the absence of prior year supply chain challenges and inventory and inflationary pressures, partly offset by higher employee costs”. UK results were not broken out.

News Corp said key titles in the quarter included The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Dinner’s Ready! by Ree Drummond, The Little Liar by Mitch Albom (published by Sphere in the UK), Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (published by Bloomsbury in the UK) and My Effin’ Life by Geddy Lee.

Digital sales increased 15% compared to the previous year “driven by strong market growth for downloadable audiobook sales, as well as the contribution from a new Spotify partnership”. The publisher has previously reported being "very pleased with results to date from Spotify".

Digital sales represented 21% of consumer revenues for the quarter compared to 19% in the year before with audiobooks accounting for approximately half of digital revenues. Backlist sales represented approximately 60% of consumer revenues in the quarter compared to 57% in the year before.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson described the overall group results as “robust” and said he believed “there are strong prospects for further growth as difficult macro conditions ease in some of our markets”.

He went on to say News Corp expects "to be a core content provider for generative AI companies, who need the highest quality, timely content to ensure the relevance and accuracy of their products”.

He said: “We patently prefer negotiation to litigation, courtship to courtrooms. But let’s be clear, in my view those who repurpose without approval are stealing and are undermining the very act of creativity – counterfeiting is not creating and the AI world is replete with content counterfeiters.”

https://www.thebookseller.com/news/har ... n-by-higher-digital-sales