Revenue at Hachette Book Group USA fell 2.8% in the third quarter ended September 30, compared to the same period in 2016. Parent company Lagardere attributed decline to unfavorable comparisons with last year’s third quarter.
Lagardere said that last year HBG benefited from strong sales of new releases like Two by Two and Woman of God. Lagardere added that the Perseus publishing properties, which were acquired in March 2016, had a solid quarter.
In a statement, HBG CEO Michael Piestsch said despite the sales dip in the third quarter, the company’s revenues through the first nine months of 2017 were “solidly ahead of 2016.” He cited growth in downloadable audio sales and a strong performance from the company’s distribution side as high notes.
Pietsch also noted that HBG has gotten off to a strong start in the fourth quarter; he pointed to the sales of Sisters First by Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Hager Bush; Obama by Pete Souza; Hacks by Donna Brazile; and Michael Connelly’s Two Kinds of Truth.
For all of Lagardere’s publishing subsidiary, sales fell 4.3% compared to the third quarter of 2016, to 646 million euros. The drop was mainly due to a sales decline in the U.K., which had different comparisons with last year’s third quarter when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a huge hit.
The company also noted something rare this year—e-book sales as a percentage of total revenue rose in the quarter, accounting for 7.2% of overall sales, compared to 6.8% a year ago.
For the first nine months of the year, total Lagardere Publishing revenue was up 1.2% over the first nine months of 2016, to 1.66 billion euros. Sales in the U.S. were ahead 2.2%.