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24 January 2022

Record-breaking 2020 results for Canongate

10 September 2021

Canongate Books has reported that 2020 was a record-breaking year. 

Group consolidated turnover for Canongate Books in 2020 was £13.86M, a 16% increase on its 2019 results, and the pre-tax profit grew to £2.58M. During 2020, the group paid its authors and their agents £3.4M, representing 24.5% of the company's turnover.

Canongate's individual turnover grew by 26% from £9.4M to £11.8M with pre-tax profit increasing from £342k to £2.18M. Frontlist turnover saw a 10% increase on 2019, and it was another outstanding year for backlist sales which reached £4.1M, an 11% increase on 2019. The ebook and audio divisions also delivered impressive numbers with a combined year end of £2.4M, a growth of 62% on 2019.

Canongate appeared on a record-breaking six Nibbies shortlist categories and went on to win Independent Publisher of the Year and Rights Professional of the Year (awarded to Caroline Clarke).

Severn House's turnover in 2020 reduced by 11.5% to £2.3M, a shortfall that is primarily due to the decision to postpone a third of the frontlist publishing into 2021. However, pre-tax profit grew by 3% to £545k.

CEO & Publisher, Jamie Byng said:

"2020 was a year full of uncertainties and unprecedented challenges for everyone and for every business.  However, the publishing sector was fortunate in being relatively unscathed compared to others, and the pandemic and the various lockdowns made books play a more important role in people's lives than ever.  This has been one of the few silver linings in what has been an unquestionably tough year.

Consequently, we saw a sizeable uplift in sales and across every part of the Canongate business in 2020 and we ended up having a record-breaking year, both in terms of turnover and profitability.  The resilience of our business is matched by the resilience of our skilled and dedicated team and all the superb authors we publish, without whom none of the above would have been possible.  And it was gratifying that this overall performance was recognized by Canongate being crowned Independent Publisher of the Year for the third time.

This outstanding performance has continued into 2021 and has helped us to the strongest first half year in the company's history.  And with an exceptional Autumn publishing programme in place, and the ongoing success of the Severn House imprint, I am confident that we can follow 2020 with another stellar set of results."


Canongate press release 10 September 2021.