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November 14, 2013

Publishing | Business

CUP reports 11th year of growth driven by digital focus

Cambridge University Press has reported an eleventh successive year of growth for the year ended 30 April 2013.

The Press’s 2013 Annual Report shows sales of £261.7m, up by seven per cent from £245m in 2012, and a pre-tax operating surplus of £8.2m – well up on 2012, all delivered against a background of continuing economic challenge in key markets.

Digital development has been a top priority with significant upgrades to Cambridge Books Online, Cambridge Journals Online and Touchstone Blended Learning digital platforms among a range of activities and products. A wide variety of new apps and online courses were produced this year, including FUNdamentals, an Australian online learning resource for the first three years of school. The Phrasal Verbs Machine app, designed to help non-native English speakers use phrasal verbs to sound more natural in their writing and speaking, was also launched and was downloaded more than 400,000 times.

The Press has strengthened links with its partners across Cambridge. It saw strong growth in the Cambridge Exams Publishing unit, run jointly with Cambridge English Language Assessment, and through joint education reform projects in Kazakhstan and Mongolia with Cambridge International Examinations and the Cambridge Faculty of Education. Joint development of the ground-breaking Cambridge Computing Massive Open Online Courses for schools was achieved with Cambridge Assessment, the Cambridge Computer Labs and Raspberry Pi.

Nearly 90 per cent of the Press’s sales were from outside the UK, and as growth slows in some Western European and the North American markets, opportunities in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia are increasing. Sales to schools in South Africa grew hugely, linked to the new curriculum, and China, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all saw significant sales successes.

Another focus was operational change. Increasingly, electronic book distribution and digital printing closer to market are the norm, so this year saw the final closure of the UK printing operation and the outsourcing of US distribution. Governance structures have been modernised, with a new Operating Board now in place to oversee the Press’s day-to-day operations.

The roll-out of a major programme to improve finance and fulfilment systems was begun with the aim of improving financial management, information and controls and introducing new processes. The first phase was implemented in January, on time and on budget, when new finance and procurement systems went live in the US and UK.

Community and charity activities all over the world saw more than 400 Press colleagues give over 1,700 hours of volunteering time – partnering with schools, participating in reading schemes, running library workshops, giving careers talks and raising funds.

Chief Executive Peter Phillips said: ‘The past year has seen many changes to keep the Press competitive in a fast-changing world. It has also shown that we remain unwavering in our commitment to quality while innovating and adapting to offer our customers learning, research and knowledge in the changing forms they want.’

Read the original press release on the Cambridge University Press website.

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