Readers are turning to fantasy books to flee grim headlines about the price of dwelling disaster and battle in Ukraine, in keeping with Bloomsbury Publishing that mentioned annual gross sales and income can be forward of expectations.

The group, which publishes JK Rowling’s Harry Potter sequence, mentioned there was elevated demand for books by fantasy fiction authors equivalent to Sarah J Maas, prompting it to improve its forecasts.

“Individuals have had an excessive amount of actuality, they’re turning to books as an satisfying type of escape from quotidian worries,” mentioned chief govt Nigel Newton. “It’s firstly the fallout from battle and the price of dwelling disaster.”

Bloomsbury mentioned on Wednesday that it had contracted US author Maas, whose success is partly attributable to the BookTok social media development on TikTok, for seven additional books. Her A Courtroom of Thorns and Roses sequence is at the moment being made right into a tv sequence by Hulu. 

“These writers have constructed up large followings, who’re completely determined to know what occurs within the subsequent sequence. So I believe these authors will proceed to do extraordinarily nicely,” mentioned Newton.

Different authors that the writer mentioned have been driving gross sales included the Oxford historian Peter Frankopan, for his new world historical past of environmental change The Earth Reworked, and dystopian fiction author Samantha Shannon.

The UK writer expects income for the 12 months ended February 28 to be greater than £260mn, in contrast with market expectations of £242.6mn. Full-year revenue earlier than tax and “highlighted objects” will probably be about £30mn, moderately than the anticipated £26.9mn.

Newton advised the Monetary Occasions that the price of dwelling disaster was nudging individuals in direction of books as an “reasonably priced pastime”, whereas costlier family expenditure was placed on maintain by these fighting excessive power payments and inflation. 

“Let’s face it, a paperback e book prices £6.99, which is lower than a month’s membership of a streaming service that you don’t use as a lot as you used to,” he mentioned.

He mentioned Bloomsbury’s tutorial publishing division was additionally doing nicely owing to the rising numbers of faculty and college college students in quickly rising Asian international locations equivalent to India. “The demand for instructing supplies in print or more and more digitally are an amazing alternative,” he mentioned.

Analysts at Investec mentioned the efficiency of Bloomsbury “continues to impress”, noting that the “virtuous flywheel” of fine content material in fiction and academia provided additional progress alternatives. 

Bloomsbury’s shares have been up 7.5 per cent by noon in London buying and selling to 452p. Their worth has risen virtually 200 per cent prior to now 5 years.

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