- Annual Report
- The year in
- Finances &
High street decline, falling trade book sales, and institutional budget reductions in developed markets provided challenges for the UK and US trade and academic lists this year, and while e-book growth did increase, it did not offset the shortfall in print sales. The corporate and professional market was further affected by tightened regulatory standards and reduced budgets. However, rapid economic growth in emerging markets provided opportunities for OUP to disseminate its content.
Steady progress was made in many publishing areas this year, particularly research publishing, with 21 high-quality and high-profile new journals added to the Oxford Journals range, including the American Historical Review, the journal of the American Historical Association. There are now over 270 titles in the Oxford Journals collection.
OUP's professional list was extended and improved with the simultaneous launch of the e-book and print editions of Blackstone's Criminal Practice, and the first substantial online update of the Oxford Textbook of Medicine. Our list of scholarly books aimed at a broader readership benefited from some key titles, including Bismarck: A Life and The Battle of Midway, which received critical acclaim, and titles such as From Christ to Coke which received positive media coverage.
It was a successful academic publishing year for many of OUP's International Division branches. A range of new and updated titles helped increase sales in India; Canada's small academic list was stable despite market difficulties and enjoyed a national best seller with the publication of Maple Leaf Empire; two major political titles led to double-digit growth in China; and Pakistan had an outstanding publishing year with a number of notable new titles, including a new series on Islamic philosophy.
OUP responded to an increase in demand for digital content this year. More than 5,000 additional titles were made available as e-books leading to a significant increase in sales, and additional investment was put into building digital infrastructure. Other university presses were also invited to publish through the Press's University Press Scholarship Online platform, based on OUP's renowned monograph collection, Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO). The International Division's branches also responded to customers' digital needs. OUP India started work on converting some of its titles to be hosted on OSO, and an app is now available for OUP China's range of academic titles.
OUP’s professional list benefited from the simultaneous launch of e-book and print editions of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice. It is the only text to offer all the material needed to practise in both UK Crown and magistrates’ courts and is now downloadable onto a range of digital devices.
Institutional budget cuts caused market challenges in reference publishing this year, as did the rapid decline in the print dictionaries market in the UK and other developed economies. However, print sales held up elsewhere in the world, particularly in developing markets, and there was an increase in take-up of the Press's online products.
There were notable publishing successes throughout the year. The six-volume Dictionary of African Biography was published with 2,000 entries covering the lives of important African figures; the Encyclopaedia of Country Music and the fourth edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary both broke new ground; and the online scholarship orientation service Oxford Bibliographies Online continued to expand into new subject areas. The Benezit Dictionary of Artists was also added to Oxford Art Online, and The Oxford Companion to Beer was widely acclaimed as well as achieving impressive sales.
OUP's two south Asian publishing centres—India and Pakistan—had successful years in reference publishing, with sales successes spurred on by a number of new titles, including the Oxford Companion to Pakistani History and the Oxford Encyclopaedia of South Asian Christianity. The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India became the first OUP India title to be added to the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf.
OUP's online dictionaries developed significantly last year, with the addition of the Oxford Chinese Dictionary, increased sales of the Oxford English Dictionary, and a move to strengthen the Oxford Dictionaries Online service with an advertising-supported business model. There was increased demand for licensing of Oxford's reference titles and lexicographical data for creating mobile apps, and Oxford dictionaries are now included in all leading e-reading devices and licensed to key technology firms including Amazon, Google, and Apple.
There was increased demand for electronic licences for Oxford's reference titles and lexicographical data last year. Oxford dictionaries are now included in all leading e-reading devices and licensed to key technology firms including Amazon, Google, and Apple.
OUP produced higher education texts from publishing centres in eight countries last year, and there were impressive performances in many of its branches across the world.
There was a high level of uncertainty in the UK market due to the advent of increased tuition fees, further shifts to online retail and direct sales to institutions, and a change in institutional focus towards student feedback and job readiness.
The UK responded with an expanded publishing list and achieved increased sales, finishing ahead of budget. Particularly successful was the launch of two key law titles, the 13th edition of Criminal Law, and the 5th edition of EU Law: Text, Cases, and Materials, and the continued success of an extensive backlist.
Sales of titles exported from the UK also grew, and many of the Press's International Division branches had a successful year. There was fast growth in Mexico and Australia; double-digit growth in India despite a flat market; and an increase in sales in Malaysia, thanks to a strong publishing programme which included digital elements. South African higher education sales also grew thanks in part to increased government investment, and Canada had a fruitful year, particularly in the humanities and social sciences where one in four titles sold in the country is now an Oxford text.
Sales in the US were affected by funding cuts. In spite of the tough market, however, there were some key successes, including large adoptions of the history text Of The People. Other highlights include the publication of the Press's first graphic history, Abina and the Important Men and distribution of OUP's first higher education e-books through the CourseSmart service.
OUP produced 675 higher education texts from publishing centres in eight countries last year, providing a wide range of high-quality resources for university students around the world.
OUP has a very successful music list, publishing both sheet music for choirs and orchestras, and music books through the Global Academic Publishing division in the UK and the US.
There was a focus on choral and instrumental sheet music publishing last year, with a number of significant launches including two new titles in the Walton Edition, English Church Music Volume, and Bob Chilcott's On Christmas Night.
A new edition of Carols for Choirs was also published, achieving excellent reviews and sales. The release marked the 50th anniversary of the first edition of the title.
Despite this publishing success, it was a challenging year for our music publishing in the Press's major markets. In the US, the economic downturn, cuts in educational and choral spending, and professional orchestra funding cutbacks impacted sales, while education funding cuts impacted sales in the UK. Sales in Europe and the rest of the world were much stronger, with more buoyant economies helping choral and educational lists to perform well.