The Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury has reported record profits despite supply chain issues

Bloomsbury, the book publisher of the Harry Potter franchise, has announced record sales and profits thanks to the popularity of new titles such as Tom Kerridge’s latest cookbook, this despite the ongoing supply chain issues affecting the UK.

The company said that the increase in reading during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic led people to “rediscover the joy of reading,” with fantasy, escapism, and cookery genres selling particularly well.

It said their revenues for the six months to the end of August were also helped by customers ordering books earlier than normal. Book sales typically peak in the three months leading into the Christmas period, this year that peak seems to have arrived early, likely sparked in part thanks to the supply chain issues across the country.

Last month a number of retailers and publishers warned of potential delays in the run up to Christmas thanks to a national shortage of lorry drivers. The UK’s largest bookseller, Waterstones, said it had upped its stock holding by a quarter to help alleviate any problems.

Bloomsbury has likewise increased its stock levels to almost £37m, this is up from £26m the year previously.

The publishers consumer division has posted a 29% revenue growth, thanks in no small part to books such as A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas and Outdoor Cooking from Michelen-starred chef Tom Kerridge.

The company also said that sales of the Harry Potter series were also good and the books were still amongst its best sellers. They also launched Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell back in July, which is performing well in the run up to the Cop26 summit that starts in Glasgow on Saturday.

Overall, the company has revealed they made revenues of £100.7m in the first half, which is up 29%, while their underlying profits before tax were £12.9m, up 220%. They expect to make revenues of £193m and an underlying pre-tax profit of £19.3m by the end of the year.

Harry Potter helps fuel UK online reselling boom

Harry Potter is one of the major contributing factors that has helped fuel a boom in online sales of second-hand books.

Sales at online “resellers” like MusicMagpie have jumped more than 22% in the UK last year, taking their earnings to over £120min. The sale of second-hand books alone has increased by 75% over the last year.

In the run up to Christmas, and with the UK subjected to its second lockdown of the year, second-hand book sales were booming and they were dominated by one series, Harry Potter.

MusicMagpie and other such companies have benefited massively from the closure of charity shops across the country. Combine that with more people needing money thanks to the nationwide lockdown and you have the perfect environment for second-hand resellers.

“Consumer attitudes towards buying refurbished products are changing, and there’s also an ongoing move towards ethical spending and tackling the growing problem of e-waste,” said Steve Oliver, the chief executive of MusicMagpie.

With the sale of second-hand books rising exponentially it also shows a clear trend back towards reading for so many people over this uncertain time.

Top-selling books in Nov-Dec 2020

  • This is Going to Hurt – by Adam Kay
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – by JK Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – by JK Rowling

Harry Potter first edition sells for £68k

A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has fetched a staggering £68,000 at auction.

This exceedingly rare issue was one of just 500 hardback copies that were printed back in 1997 before the magical saga rose to its lofty heights.

Other such copies have fetched large amounts at auction recently, including one which sold for £50,000 in an online auction at Hansons Auctioneers on Friday.

These issues sold at their original time of printing for just £10.99, yet of those original 500 only 200 were ever sold in a store, the other 300 were all donated to various schools and libraries across the UK.

Two former library copies, complete with date stamps have also recently been sold at auction. One went for £19,000 with the other finished at bidding at £17,500.

Charlotte Rumsey initially put a copy found in her mother’s box of unwanted things in a 50p box for a car boot sale in July. Thankfully though she watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow and immediately asked her mother to check her copy with Hanson’s Auctioneers.

The copy turned out to be one of the rare 200 that were sent to shops and eventually sold for the aforementioned £50,000.

Ms Rumsey says she plans to split the money between her upcoming nuptials and her mother’s new home.

Harry Potter fan sites cut ties with JK Rowling over transgender rights

Two of the largest Harry Potter fan sites have made moves to distance themselves from the characters creator JK Rowling.

Two of the largest Harry Potter fan sites have made moves to distance themselves from the characters creator JK Rowling due to the recent remarks she made about transgender rights. The sites have said her personal views are at odds with the messages of empowerment found in her best-selling novels.

The two websites, the Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet said on Thursday that their sites would no longer provide links to the author’s personal websites, use photos of her or talk about any achievements she makes outside of the wizarding world.

The joint statement by the fan sites also said that Rowling’s airing of “harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person” during Pride Month and her views on “marginalised people [are] out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books and celebrated by the Harry Potter [fan] community”.

This backlash follows a lengthy personal essay released by Rowling last month within which she discussed her beliefs on transgender rights, including examples of where she thought demands by transgender activists were actually dangerous to women.

Trans activists have condemned the authors essay. Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images

After publishing the essay it didn’t take long for many stars of the Harry Potter universe to speak out. Daniel Radcliffe, who of course played the titular character, and Eddie Redmayne, who starsin the Fantastic Beasts spin-off series, spoke out against the author.

Four authors have also quit Rowling’s literary agency after accusing the company of refusing to issue a statement publicly supporting transgender rights.

The fan sites said members have found it difficult to speak out against Rowling because they have admired her work for so long, but said “it would be wrong not to use our platforms to counteract the harm she has caused.”

“Our stance is firm: transgender women are women,” the statement read. “Transgender men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. Intersex people exist and should not be forced to live in the binary. We stand with Harry Potter fans in these communities.

“While we don’t condone the mistreatment [Rowling] has received for airing her opinions about transgender people, we must reject her beliefs.”

Rowling has yet to respond to this statement.

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