Black Lives Matter books help Bloomsbury shares surge to record highs

Kumutha Ramanathan
·Contributor
·2 min read
Books that make up part of an auction lot containing 550 international copies of works in the Harry Potter series are seen on a shelf at Bloomsbury Auctions in London February 26, 2008. Described as an 'extraordinary collection' of a private collector, it contains 67 different languages with some first edition and rare proof copies, will be auctioned this Thursday.       REUTERS/Luke MacGregor   (BRITAIN)
Books that make up part of an auction lot containing 550 international copies of works in the Harry Potter series are seen on a shelf at Bloomsbury Auctions in London. Photo: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Popular titles focused on race relations have largely led to a boom in book sales for UK publisher Bloomsbury (BMY.L), allowing it to deliver its highest first half earnings since 2008.

Shares were up more than 19% on Tuesday as the company reported its results.

The business had year-on-year profit growth of 60% to £4m ($5.31m). Online book sales and e-book revenues were also significantly higher, contributing to a revenue increase of 10% to £78.3m.

The company’s performance has “exceeded the Board’s expectations,” it said.

Bloomsbury shares were up as much as 19.5% in trading on Tuesday as it released impressive first half profits following an increased demand for books, particularly those dealing with race relations.
Bloomsbury shares were up as much as 19.5% in trading on Tuesday as it released impressive first half profits following an increased demand for books, particularly those dealing with race relations. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Some of its most popular titles included “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race” and “White Rage,” which are books that deal with race. Such content has seen a surge in demand in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in the US and subsequent worldwide protests.

Books on race relations have been doing well throughout the year, with “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Renni Eddo-Lodge becoming the most ordered book on Amazon UK (AMZN) in June, entering the top 20 for the first time.

Bloomsbury said its strong performance can also be attributed to its diversified offering, with Bloomsbury Digital Resources seeing a 47% growth in sales.

“In the Non-Consumer division, our strategy of developing online academic resources, conceived five years ago, meant we were well placed to benefit from the accelerated shift by academic institutions to digital products to support remote learning,” the company said.

READ MORE: George Floyd protests: Books about race and combating racism sell-out on Amazon

The business is in a strong financial position, it said, with net cash of $44.1m at 31 August 2020. As such, it said it will resume its dividend of 1.28 pence-per-share.

Bloomsbury is also considering new acquisition opportunities, according to a company statement.

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