Record-breaking sales of Jamie Oliver’s latest cook book have helped publisher Penguin to its best financial performance.
The publisher’s owner Pearson said Penguin will report record sales and profits for 2010 partly as a result of strong demand for Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, which is the fastest-selling non-fiction book and has shifted more than one million copies.
Pearson upgraded its profits forecast for the group including Penguin for the third time in the past half-year. It expects underlying profits to rise by around 20% to £850 million in 2010.
It also owns the Financial Times, which is set to report substantial underlying profits growth after advertising revenues rebounded and subscriptions remained resilient.
Chief executive Marjorie Scardino said: “For the third successive year, our growth is vigorous even though market conditions have been anaemic.
“We are on the right road and set out on 2011 with confidence that we will have another good year.”
The group, which also owns a 50% stake in the Economist magazine, said its North American business continued to grow its market share and its international education business reported a strong final quarter of 2010.
Other Penguin books that have sold well over the key Christmas trading period included The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry, Life & Laughing by Michael McIntyre and Dead Or Alive by Tom Clancy.
Penguin has benefited from soaring sales of digital “ebooks”, which increased three-fold in the first three quarters of the year, helping to offset tough conditions in the market for paper books.
At the Financial Times, paying digital subscribers recently topped the 200,000 mark for the first time, after a 71% increase in the past year.