Penguin Random House, whose global sales fell 1.4%, to €1.63 billion (about $1.95 billion), in the first half of 2020, had "growth in the leading book market, the United States," with "strong bestsellers, total availability of its titles in digital formats, and state-of-the-art logistics," which have proven "advantageous during the coronavirus pandemic," parent company Bertelsmann said today. Bertelsmann added that PRH worldwide had a 15% increase in revenue from digital formats, consisting of e-books and audiobooks. Also during the period, Bertelsmann became the full owner of PRH, buying the last part that had been owned by Pearson.
In a video message to PRH staff, CEO Markus Dohle noted, too, that the shift of "German sister company" Verlagsgruppe Penguin Random House to become an official part of PRH was completed last month, adding 47 imprints and almost 1,000 colleagues to PRH. He also said that despite the "unprecedented challenges" of 2020, "we successfully forged our way into the last third of this year." In part, this was because of the growth in digital sales. "We never could've predicted a global pandemic, but we've been working toward a world in which online sales channels would have an even larger share of our overall book sales. A world in which we would need to activate every single competitive advantage we have been investing into over the last 10 plus years. So now is the time. The time to benefit from all our investments into supply chain, into corporate marketing, into consumer marketplace developments, and to focus even more on driving sales online... And as much as we've seen different impacts of the pandemic on various markets, we've also globally seen further evidence of what we've always known to be true: books are essential culturally and very resilient commercially."
He added that he is confident that "we will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before. Together, we will ensure that our authors' stories will be read, and their voices will be heard--today, tomorrow and for generations to come. And we'll continue to do our part to shape a world that is more equitable, and a world that is healthier than the one we live in today."
A week after the August 4 explosion that ripped through the port in Beirut, Lebanon, Aaliya's Books posted on Facebook: "Thank you so much to the many, many people who have been so generous to us. Our community comprises not only our customers, but also our neighboring businesses, including Fern Ghattas, whose team greet us each morning and provide many of us with the manouche that fuels us through the day. When we come back from this disaster, we want our neighbors right there beside us."
Yesterday, the bookseller posted: "For three years we've had this pizza oven hidden (behind the blackboard wall) in the back of Aaliya's. Today @naila.h.r.saba and the Fern Ghattas team uncovered it. Tomorrow it will make its exit from our shop and head to its new home a few stores down at Fern Ghattas, where we hope it will long continue the #Ghattas family's 100-year-old tradition of fueling #gemmayzeh with #manouche. #beirut #rebuild #neighborshelpingneighbors."
The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland has released a video "encouraging the public to visit bookshops, as the industry prepares for spate of heavy publication release days this autumn," the Bookseller reported. Filmed in Sevenoaks Bookshop, #ChooseBookshops is being promoted across the @BooksAreMyBag social channels in anticipation of Bookshop Day, October 3.
"We're delighted to release our short, feel-good video illustrating the joy of bookshops to consumers and we hope it reinforces what a pleasure it is to visit a bookshop--especially in the lead up to Christmas, more crucial this year than ever before for our members," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "While the autumn book bonanza is good news in many ways for booksellers, there's no question that bookshops continue to face a huge number of challenges, from Covid-19, and other obstacles, including rent pressures and unhelpful landlords, many of whom refused to offer any rent relief during lockdown, as well as ongoing uncertainty on business rates due and the ongoing threats from online growth to high street, bricks and mortar retailers."
Bookstore Day in the Netherlands will be held September 12. Boekhandel Van Piere in Eindhoven posted on Facebook: "Save the date: Bookstore Day! Due to the current circumstances we had to wait for it but luckily there is a new date for Bookstore Day: September 12th. Put it in your calendar, because only on this day do we have exclusive expenses, signed expenses, daily deals and other offers. For more information please visit bookstoreday.nl or keep an eye on our socials." --Robert Gray