Independent publisher does not match record year, but maintains good margin
Profile has reported a healthy set of results for the financial year 2017/18, despite being unable to match the record numbers of the previous period. Turnover was down 6% to £11.9m, and operating profit was £1.09m, down from £1.3m. The margin remained good, at 9%.
The previous year had seen bestselling performances by the hardback of Sarah Perry's novel The Essex Serpent, and by the paperback of Mary Beard's SPQR.
The Essex Serpent, which was also a bestseller in paperback, has sold over 500,00 copies across all editions. Ruby Tandoh's polemic Eat Up! was another Sunday Times top 10 title for the Serpent's Tail imprint. Mary Beard's Women and Power spent 24 weeks in the Sunday Times hardback non-fiction top 10 and has sold over 165,000 copies to date, with the paperback out in November. Another strong performer was Shaun Bythell's Diary of a Bookseller, with over 33,500 copies sold across all editions and 17 translation sales. The paperback is out this month.
Forthcoming highlights include Sarah Perry's new novel, Melmoth (October); new books from Francis Fukuyama and Kwame Anthony Appiah; and The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, whose previous books have sold more than 1 million copies in Profile editions. Serpent's Tail has just published Esi Edugyan's Washington Black, which is on the Man Booker Prize longlist.
The company said that it had "not been immune" to the decline in ebook sales reported elsewhere in the industry, but planned to take advantage of the growth in audio sales with its new audiobook publishing programme partnership with Little, Brown.
Andrew Franklin, founder and md, said: "It always comes down to the books doesn't it? And we are very lucky indeed with our authors. We are also hugely grateful for the support from booksellers - without which we would be nowhere. And if we are listing thanks, my colleagues at Profile are pretty damn amazing too. I hope our results - which is only one way of looking at our publishing - prove that the independent publishing sector is thriving."