Fantasy fuels Bloomsbury's 'exceptionally strong' trading, share surge

Shares in publisher Bloomsbury Publishing (LSE: BMY) rose nearly 10% on Wednesday after the company said surging demand for fantasy titles has led to an “exceptionally strong” period of trading.

The Harry Potter publisher said it expects full-year revenue and pre-tax profit to be “significantly ahead” of market forecasts, sending its shares higher in morning trade.

Bloomsbury credits fantasy novels – and one author in particular – with driving its successful year. Bestselling American fantasy writer Sarah J Maas published her latest novel “House of Flame and Shadow” in January, which shot to number one in the US, UK and Australia.

The release has also sparked interest in Maas’ back catalogue of 15 titles, which Bloomsbury has published since signing her in 2010. It has a further six novels under contract.

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Fuelled by the popularity of authors like Maas, fantasy book sales have grown 54% over the past five years, according to Nielsen Bookscan data. Bloomsbury plans to invest further in the genre.

Chief Executive Nigel Newton said the demand for fantasy fiction has been “exceptional” and described Maas as a “publishing phenomenon” whose books have a growing global fanbase.

Bloomsbury also appointed a new president of its US division as it continues to tap surging interest in fantasy.