In the first half of the year, the Hachette Book Group derived 27% of its revenues from digital publishing, according to an announcement from the company today. Digital revenues were up 20% in the first half of the year compared to the first half last year.
While digital growth was strong at the book publisher, it represents a significant slowdown compared to the early years of digital at Hachette. In 2008, digital publishing accounted for about 1% of Hachette’s overall revenues. That number was 4% in 2009 and 8% in 2010. In 2011, that number was about 22% — precipitous growth over four years.
As e-books become more ubiquitous, the potential for huge percentage growth in revenue decreases. According to the latest figures from the Association of American Publishers, e-book growth, while still incredibly strong, has come down from the triple digit gains seen in 2010 and 2011.
Digital growth buoyed Hachette as the overall business saw a revenue decrease from the same period last year, down 4%, due to weak performance of front-list titles. The company predicts a bounce-back in the second half of the year due to a slate of promising titles led by J.K. Rowling’s first adult release, The Casual Vacancy.