HarperCollins is a subsidiary of News Corporation, a diversified global media company with operations in cable network programming, film, television, direct broadcast satellite television, and publishing. Beside HarperCollins Publishing, the publishing division includes newspapers such as the New York Post; the Wall Street Journal and related publications in the U.S., Europe and Asia; and Dow Jones and its information services business. HarperCollins is one of the world’s largest English language book publishers. HarperCollins includes HarperCollins Publishers LLC (“HarperCollins U.S.,” headquartered in New York), HarperCollins Publishers Limited (London), and The Zondervan Corporation LLC (Michigan).
In 2011, News Corporation entered the US educational market with Amplify, an education technology business with digital products and services for the K-12 market. Amplify is focused on transforming teaching and learning through Wireless Generation, which was acquired in 2011.
Key Company Developments in 2012 & 2013
HarperCollins's revenue fell slightly from 1.2 billion USD in 2011 to 1.19 billion USD. International turnover, excluding the US market, rose 4% from 254 million GBP to 263.5 million GBP, but operating profits slipped from more than 12.3 million GBP in 2011 to just over 9.8 million GBP in 2012, a fall of 20%. Profits after tax were 7.6 million GBP, down from 9.3 million GBP in 2011, a decline of around 18%. According to The Bookseller, HarperCollins registered a "10% increase in physical market share, e-book sales grew by 250%, accounting for nearly 15% of trade revenue in the year."
HarperCollins imprint Avon, which focuses on women's commercial fiction, saw a 72% increase in revenues, mainly in the e-book market.
Sales of children's books also increased, up 9.47% with 30.6 million GBP.
Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization:
Two words from CEO Rupert Murdoch marked News Corp's fiscal 2012: “Big decisions.” The company was split into two separate, publicly traded businesses, one focused on news, publishing and education, the other on media and entertainment. Robert Thomson, former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor of the Times, has been named the head of the publishing business, which includes HarperCollins.
In February 2013, HarperCollins announced to merge its three non-fiction divisions into two imprints, creating a new William Collins brand alongside HarperCollins Non-Fiction. CEO Victoria Barnsley noted that move was in response to the challenge of free content online. “We need to focus our resources so that we can concentrate on stretching the boundaries and redefining the genre.”
HarperCollins is launching a new education publishing division in India which will mark its "largest ever" investment in international education publishing. Collins India, as the new division will be called, will provide books to Indian schools in 2014 across subjects including English, maths and science. Two months before, HarperCollins has taken full control of its India arm after ten years of running it in partnership with Living Media India (LMI).
In a move to make its English language titles available around the globe, HarperCollins launched a program called HarperCollins 360. The program will ensure that "the HarperCollins global catalog, comprising 50,000 print books and 40,000 e-books, will be available, limited only by the rights held, not by technology or geography,” according to the company.
HarperCollins saw a rise in turnover but a fall in profits in 2012, with UK e-book sales growing by 250% and accounting for nearly 15% of trade revenue over the period. HarperCollins has made 25% of its list available in e-books in the U.S.
Two years after HarperCollins imprint Avon launched e-book branch Impulse, William Morrow inaugurated its digital crime imprint Witness with ten books. More titles will come from Witness, as Morrow publishing director Dan Mallory has already bought the rights to 100 titles including original editions, international bestsellers that have not been released in the U.S., and newly digitized backlist classics, with a price range of $0.99 to $2.99.
On investor day, HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray presented Harper's strategy focusing on investments in fiction, children’s and religion, driving growth through digital transformation, expanding internationally and driving profitability in core print businesses. By 2014, there will be four instead of nine warehouses around the world.
Estimates say that HarperCollins currently sells through 70 e-book storefronts worldwide, and sees that number rising to 150 storefronts in a year. The presentation also confirmed that Harper gets 57% of their revenue from their top 15 customers, and that 50% of all revenues are from the backlist.
Under Harper's agency e-book pricing, e-books are significantly more profitable than print books. The e-book edition of a new frontlist title is 39% more profitable.
Bestselling Authors & Titles:
HarperCollins UK had 56 books on The Sunday Times bestseller list, with six titles reaching number one. Bestsellers included Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes, Three Letters by Josephine Cox, Dare to Dream by One Direction, and A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. The U.K. editions of The Game of Thrones contributed sales of 15 million USD in fiscal 2012.
In 2011, the revenue of News Corporation rose two percent, from $32.8 to $33.4 billion USD. However, the publishing division experienced headwinds from “lower book sales due to fewer new releases and lower licensing fees resulting from a settlement at HarperCollins in fiscal 2010,” according to their annual report.
HarperCollins UK and International (“UK International” referring notably to Australia and India) reported a three year high with turnover rising from 243 million GBP in 2010 to 254 million GBP in fiscal 2011, which ended in June 2011. Operating profits halved to 14 million “in comparison to the year before but that is purely because of exceptional rights income in the prior year, the publisher told Bookseller. Excluding the exceptional rights income, operating profits have increased by 120%, which indicates that the restructuring strategies over the past few years were successful.
News Corporation entered the educational market, which Rupert Murdoch claimed is worth an estimated $500 billion USD, in his annual letter to shareholders.News Corporation bought Wireless Generation, an entrepreneurial company that provides technology-based solutions, for $390 million USD, covering the purchase price and debt repayment.
At the end of October 2011, HarperCollins announced an agreement to buy Thomas Nelson for an undisclosed price. With bestselling titles such as Heaven is For Real, Nelson is a "leader in the inspirational market” and “more broad based than Zondervan”, said HC CEO Brian Murray. Nelson and Zondervan, the Christian publishing house of HarperCollins, are the two largest religion book publishers in the US. Following the private equity firms InterMedia, which acquired Nelson in 2010, and Kohlberg & Company, HarperCollins will be Nelson’s third owner within eighteen months.
HarperCollins expanded its digital content with 8,700 e-books, 50 enhanced e-books and 71 apps available at the end of June 30, 2011. E-books accounted for approximately 12 percent of total sales. “In the UK, digital sales continue to expand, growing seven fold year on year, accounting around 10% of home trade revenue”, as it is said in a statement of HarperCollins UK.