Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury says COVID-spurred reading surge is here to stay

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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc said the surge in reading during lockdown in Britain is the new normal post-pandemic as the company, best known for the Harry Potter series, reported record revenue.

Full-year sales climbed 24 percent to £230.1 million ($277 million) and profit jumped 40 percent as people continued to buy novels and books related to hobbies and personal interests, the company said in a statement on Wednesday, beating analyst estimates.

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Shares in Bloomsbury rose more than 6 percent in early trading in London.

The publisher’s sales and profit are also up significantly on two years ago before the COVID-19 virus spread around the world forcing people to stay at home and shops to temporarily close.

Bloomsbury said COVID-19 has converted many people into regular readers and book-buyers, even as social lives return to normal, and its sales in the first quarter of the current fiscal year are solid.

“The pandemic made us all re-evaluate how we spend our time and this has resulted in an increase in sales of books,” Bloomsbury Chief Executive Nigel Newton said in the statement.

“The surge in reading, which seemed to be one of the only rays of light in the darkest days of the pandemic is perhaps now being revealed as permanent.”

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