Bloomsbury books are still booming, with the company continuing to thrive and profits continuing to grow. It is evident that the reacquired reading habit that grew during the pandemic is here to stay.

“The surge in reading, which seemed to be one of the only rays of light in the darkest days of the pandemic is perhaps now being revealed as permanent,” said chief executive Nigel Newton.

Bloomsbury reported pre-tax profits of £22.2m in the 12 months to 28 February, up 28% from the previous year.

Pre-tax profits were up 68% compared with 2019/20, before the pandemic hit.

“The question on all of our minds was: would the pandemic surge in reading continue? We now know the answer: reading has become a reacquired habit and continues to thrive,” Mr Newton expressed.

Bloomsbury also said sales of Harry Potter books had increased by 5%, as the 25th anniversary of the series approaches.

It added that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the sixth bestselling children’s book of the year, according to UK Nielsen Bookscan, which reports book-buying trends.

Another bookseller, WH Smith, also reported a strong rebound from the pandemic.

The chain’s total sales were up 107% of pre-pandemic levels in the 15 weeks to 11 June.

The company said it had seen particularly strong performance at its airport stores, with travel sales at 123% of the same period in 2019, as countries opened their borders once again to welcome visitors.

“We expect this to be maintained into the peak summer trading period,” WH Smith said in a statement, adding that it expects sales to remain at the higher end of expectations through to the end of the year.

Bloomsbury’s share price rose 5% as trading began on Wednesday. WH Smith’s shares were also up by around 7% shortly after stock markets opened.

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