Courier Swings from Loss to Net Income of $1.6 Million on Sales of $59 Million
Publishing: operating efficiencies help trim losses
Courier’s specialty publishing segment includes three businesses: Dover Publications, a niche publisher with thousands of titles in dozens of specialty trade markets; Creative Homeowner, which publishes books on home design, decorating, landscaping and gardening; and Research & Education Association (REA), a publisher of test preparation books and study guides.
Third-quarter revenues for the segment were $9.1 million, down 8 percent from $9.9 million in last year’s third quarter. The segment’s operating loss for the quarter was $975,000, compared to a loss of $1.2 million last year. For fiscal 2012 to date, segment sales were $28.2 million, versus $30.8 million for the first nine months of last year. The segment’s operating loss through nine months was $3.9 million, unchanged from last year.
Of Courier’s three publishing businesses, REA alone was profitable during the quarter, with sales up 2 percent from a year earlier despite the absence of Borders, which had been one of REA’s largest customers prior to the chain’s closing. At Dover, sales were off 2 percent but careful attention to costs enabled the business to trim its operating loss by more than 20 percent. Creative Homeowner, with sales down 31 percent in a challenging retail environment, lost $227,000.
Successes during the quarter included the beta-site launch of DoverPictura.com, Dover’s new online image store, the availability of a growing range of e-book titles on popular platforms and a very strong spring for REA’s Crash Course series and other AP test preparation titles.
“Our publishing segment continued to deal with channel challenges and a sluggish consumer economy,” said Conway. “Faced with this environment, we continued to take out costs wherever we could without compromising our ability to deliver top-drawer content such as Creative Homeowner’s Backyard Homesteading, which recently won a Gold Medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards.