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Publisher Bloomsbury casts upbeat forecast, says books 'affordable pastime'

FILE PHOTO: Harry Potter books are displayed in a bookcase in La Paz

(Reuters) -Bloomsbury Publishing Plc forecast full-year profit to be well ahead of expectations on Wednesday, encouraged by the robust demand for it fantasy novels and academic digital resources.

"Throughout a year which has been characterised by rising inflation and cost of living pressure, it is notable that reading remains hugely popular throughout the world, with books regarded by many readers as an affordable pastime," Chief Executive Officer Nigel Newton said in a statement.

The London-listed publisher, best known for picking up J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series in 1997 after its rejection by a dozen others, said it expected profit before tax for the year ended Feb. 28 to be about 30 million pounds ($36.46 million), compared with the company compiled analyst consensus of 26.9 million pounds.

British author Samantha Shannon's political fantasy novel 'A Day of Fallen Night' became an instant bestseller worldwide after its release in February, while American fantasy author Sarah J. Maas' titles continued to see strong sales, the publisher said.

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The company added that it expected revenue to be over 260 million pounds, while analysts currently expected it to be about 242.6 million pounds.

($1 = 0.8228 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)