TikTok book reviews fuel growth for Harry Potter publisher

Chief executive Nigel Newton told The Standard: “It’s not just about driving sales, but huge sales. Books that are 10 years old become bestsellers.

Videos posted with the hashtag #booktok total 58.2 billion views on TikTok, with users filming themselves reviewing their favorite books and swapping recommendations. Videos are a way for readers “to express the emotional impact that reading a particular book has had on them,” Newton said.

It comes as Bloomsbury posted record results with sales in the year to February 28 up 24% to £230m while profits jumped 40% to 26.7m pounds, driven by an increase in consumer sales as well as an increase in university sales fueled by a shift to online learning during the pandemic.

Sales of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter book series rose 5%, despite the series’ inaugural book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, about to enter its 26th year of release. The publisher said sales of fantasy fiction writer Sarah J Maas, author of the popular novel House of Sky and Breath, soared 86%.

Newton said the increase in people starting to read during the coronavirus shutdowns needed to become permanent.

“The pandemic has caused us all to re-evaluate how we spend our time and this has led to increased sales of books that allow us to explore our hobbies and personal interests such as cooking, fitness, history and reading novels for enlightenment and escape,” he said.

The company made a series of acquisitions during the financial year, including the American academic publishing company ABC-CLIO in December 2021 for £16.7 million and the purchase of the assets of the publisher of Red Globe Press student e-books in June 2021 for £3.2 million.

Bloomsbury shares rose 5% to hit 400p in early trading.

Alycia R. Lindley