Hachette parent company Lagardere has reported a 5.9% fall for net sales in its Publishing division in 2011 to €2.03bn (£1.68bn), with a 4.5% drop in UK revenue in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2010. E-books accounted for 6% of the publishing division's total net sales in 2011.
Across the group, net sales were reported down to €7.6bn (£6.3bn) to the end of 2011, a 3.9% drop. In the fourth quarter, the three months to end December 2011, net sales across the group were down a reported 9.1% to €1.9bn (£1.6bn), with publishing sales down to €537m (£446m) on the fourth quarter of 2010, a drop of 3.4%.
In the statement on its publishing division, the Paris-based company said the "unfavourable base effect of Stephenie Meyer sales” had vanished by the year end.
Lagardere said in English-speaking countries the year was dominated by "the rise of the e-book and problems for a number of distributors", citing the bankruptcy of Borders in the US and Red Group in Australia. It attributed the 4.5% drop in UK publishing sales, to the "tougher international market conditions", and said the "solid performances in the Adult trade" did not offset this.
E-book growth continued in the fourth quarter for the group, with e-book sales accounting for 20% of adult trade in the US and 10% in the UK at the end of December 2011. Separately, Hachette UK said sales of its e-books were in excess of £21m in 2011, up nearly 500% on 2010, and it put its market share of e-book sales at approximately 20%.
Across the full year 2011, e-books made up 6% of Lagardere Publishing's total net sales, but it reported that new e-readers launched in the autumn in France have not yet "triggered a breakthrough in the market".
The group will release its full-year results on 8th March.
Hachette UK sales drop 4.5% in fourth quarter: