Monday, March 22, 2010

Brill posts increased profits for 2009

The academic publisher Brill earned €2.1 million in profit in the last year, which they attribute to lower operational costs and strong sales of its online products. The Dutch based publisher is one of the largest publishers of academic materials in the field of medieval studies.

In a press release, Brill said they had a "solid performance in 2009" with €26.1 million in revenue, compared to €25.7 the previous year. In 2008, Brill only had a profit of €0.2 million.

While sales of print books decline by 4% in 2009, electronic materials increased by 34% over the year, and now makes up 21% of total sales. The publisher said in their report that while the number of books they are printing has remained stable, "less favorable expectations for new books forced the company to scrutinize new projects and implement policies to use printing on demand and reduce inventory. Special focus was on the sale of electronic books, foremost in the context of subject collections."

Brill expects to continue to grow its collection of reference works, such as the Encyclopaedia of Islam and its 135 journals, which include Medieval Encounters and Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. They hope that their efforts on putting more and more content in electronic form will keep the company healthy if print sales continue to fall.

The report also notes that "during the year the painful decision was made to reduce headcount by ten percent and implement cost cutting measures in light of disappointing sales. Thanks to the flexible and constructive attitude of its employees the organization has successfully met its strategic and operational goals and returned to solid profitability."

They believe that they will remain profitable in 2010, but add "the financial and economic crisis for the library market globally is still hard to predict."

Brill, which based in Leiden, Netherlands, celebrated its 325th anniversary in 2008. It has been one of the most important publishers of medieval studies books for several decades, producing dozens of volumes each year.

Click here to read their press release with more details about their performance in 2009.