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Hachette Livre

Hachette Livre is the world’s third-largest trade book publisher for the general public and educational markets. Hachette Livre (or Lagardère Publishing) is a subsidiary of Lagardère Media, the holding company for Lagardère’s media operations.

In 2014, Hachette published 20,359 titles under more than 150 imprints, including the French trade publishing houses Grasset, Fayard, Stock, and Calmann-Lévy. With Hachette Éducation and the Alexandre Hatier group, Hachette Livre is the leading educational publisher in France.

Hachette UK was the UK’s second-largest publisher in 2014, with 13% of the printed book market. It covers six divisions: Octopus for illustrated books, Orion, Hodder & Stoughton, Headline, Little, Brown for general literature; and Hachette Children’s Books in the youth sector.

Hachette Livre Spain has been the third-largest publisher in Spain since the acquisition of Santillana’s trade division by Penguin Random House, and ranks as the leading publisher of textbooks through Anaya and Bruño.

In the US, Hachette Book Group is the fourth-largest trade book publisher thanks to publishing houses as Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books), and Little, Brown.

Worldwide, Hachette Livre is present either directly or indirectly in more than 70 countries across all of its business lines. Hachette is present in China via a partnership with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group) and Russia, with a 49 % share in Atticus.

Analysis & Key Developments

Financial

Sales at Lagardére were down -3% on a reported basis for 2014 and -4.5% on a like-for-like basis to 2 billion EUR. Educational business was negatively impacted by a continued lack of school reforms in France and Spain, while the absence of mega-bestsellers contributed to a lackluster comparison. The declines were offset by a solid performance in the UK and strong results in Illustrated Books in France.

The dispute with Amazon in the United States muted e-book sales, which was a noticeable factor considering e-books represented 26.9% of trade sales in the U.S.

Sales by publishing segment are led by trade with 40% (down from 42% in 2013). Education represented 16% (16% in 2013), illustrated books 15% (15% in 2013), partworks 12% (11% in 2013), and 17% from other categories (16% in 2013).

Acquisition

UK book trade publisher Constable & Robinson is now an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group. Consolidation began in February 1, 2014.

Hodder & Stoughton acquired the UK book publisher Quercus in May 1, 2014.

Hachette Book Group acquired Black Dog & Leventhal, a publisher of illustrated books in the US, and Hachette Livre France increased its stake in Azbooka-Atticus, Russia’s third-largest publisher, to 49%.

Hodder Education acquired Pearson textbooks in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Divestment

Hachette disposed of Aique (the Argentine subsidiary of the Anaya group) in September 2014.

E-book pricing

The conflict with Amazon in the United States began in spring 2014. It prompted retaliatory measures from Amazon, which depressed the sales of Hachette titles. The conflict was resolved in November 2014 with the signing of a multi-year agreement, which gave Hachette the right to fix the retail price of its e-books, which was the main stumbling block in the negotiations. The agreement took effect in December.

Change in management

David Young stepped down as Chairman of Hachette Book Group, USA in 2013. He returned to the UK, where he serves as Deputy Chief Executive, Hachette UK and CEO Orion Publishing Group. Michael Pietsch, formerly Executive Vice President of HBG and Publisher of Little, Brown and Company, succeeded David Young as Chief Executive Officer of HBG.

International

In France, Hachette’s business fell by-8.6% from trade and education. Declines were also reported in the US (-4.8%), and the UK (-4.6%). Spain and Latin America business operations remained relatively stable (-1.1%).

Hachette is planning to make selective investments in high-growth markets such as Russia, India and China.

Digital

The pace of digital transition has slowed down: e-books accounted for 10,3% of total division sales in 2014 (against 10,4% in 2013). Digital is centered mainly on the English-speaking markets, specifically the General Literature segment, with diverging market trends. Digital sales from Lagardère Publishing dropped in the U.S. from 30% of trade sales in 2013 to 26% in 2014, reflecting market trends, fewer bestsellers vs. 2013, and the dispute with Amazon. In the UK, where the market is slowly growing, e-book sales account for 31% of adult trade sales vs. 27% in 2013. The French and Spanish markets are still in early stages.

Hachette Livre has already made many of its titles available on e-book platforms. In the U.S., Hachette Book Group has a digital catalogue of over 7,000 titles. Hachette UK currently offers roughly 25,000 digitized titles, and more than 26,000 digitized titles are available in France.

Bestsellers

In the US, the Hachette Book Group (HBG) landed 14 #1 bestsellers. Ten of the 25 bestsellers of the year in adult fiction were published by HBG, as were two of the 25 bestselling non-fiction titles. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was published in 2013 by Little, Brown and Company. The novel won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize and became the second bestselling novel in hardcover in the United States in 2014.

In 2014, 124 titles published by Hachette UK were placed on the Sunday Times bestseller list, with 29 titles at #1. The trade version of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, published by Orion in 2013, spent nine weeks at the top of the fiction list in 2014 on the heels of the film adaptation.

Bestselling titles in France include Constellation, the first novel by Adrien Bosc (146,000 copies); Devenir soi by Jacques Attali (104,000 copies); Du bonheur, un voyage philosophique by Frédéric Lenoir (105,000 copies in 2014 and a total of 230,000 since its release in 2013); Tromper la mort by Maryse Rivière (125,000 copies), which won the 2015 Quai des Orfèvres prize; Oona & Salinger by Frédéric Beigbeder (116,000 copies); Le Ver à soie by Robert Galbraith, alias J.K. Rowling (86,000 copies) ; On ne voyait que le bonheur by Grégoire Delacourt (132,000 copies); La Pyramide de glace by Jean-François Parot (72,000 copies); and Merci pour ce moment by Valérie Trierweiler. Hachette Livre Distribution shipped more than 600,000 copies of Trierweiler ‘s book in one month.

Mexico’s Larousse and Grupo Editorial Patria achieved stronger sales in private and public education markets. The biggest-selling books in 2014 were the Diccionario Pocket Inglés/Español (1.05 million copies) and the Diccionario Basico Escolar (1.19 million copies).

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