Book Biz Closes Out an Unexpected 2020 (

Last week Penguin Random House reported that it had a 23.3% increase in profits in 2020 over 2019 on a 4.6% gain in revenue, capping a remarkable year for America’s five biggest trade publishers that report financial results. Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, all five had annual increases in both earnings and sales. Higher sales of e-books and digital audiobooks and solid gains of backlist titles helped drive the revenue and profit gains. Online sales also rose in the year, offsetting soft sales through bookstores due to pandemic-induced lockdowns.

According to PRH parent company Bertelsmann, PRH US had a particularly good year and drove the overall gains for the publisher. PRH US accounted for just over 58% of PRH’s total revenue, or roughly $2.59 billion. In 2019, the U.S. represented 56% of PRH revenue (about $2.2 billion).
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