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Harry Potter publisher cheers record profits on reading boom

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A surge in reading during the pandemic has helped Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury notch up record annual sales and profits.

Bloomsbury Publishing said pre-tax profits jumped 28% to £22.2 million in the year to February 28 – up 68% on a two-year comparison before Covid struck.

Revenues rose 24% to £230.1 million and were up 41% on a two-year comparison.

Man putting book on bookshelf.
The pandemic helped to increase interest in reading (Ben Birchall/PA)

Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing, said reading became a “reacquired habit” since lockdowns spurred people on to pick up books and “continues to thrive”.

He said: “The pandemic made us all re-evaluate how we spend our time and this has resulted in an increase in sales of books that enable us to explore our hobbies and personal interests such as cooking, fitness, history and reading novels for enlightenment and escape.”

“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, with the simple act of reading shedding light and giving joy to millions of people,” he added.

Girl grabbing a book
Bloomsbury Publishing recorded soaring profits on Wednesday (Ben Birchall/PA)

The firm, which first published JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series in 1997, looks set to continue enjoying success, with trading for 2022/23 being in “line with the board’s expectations”, according to the group.

Shares in Bloomsbury lifted 3% on Wednesday morning.

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