Update: Bertram Books brings 100-jobs boost to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:19 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:19 16 January 2014

Graeme Underhill on the library floor at Bertram's.  Photo: Bill Smith

Graeme Underhill on the library floor at Bertram's. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

More than 100 Norfolk jobs have been created by Bertram Books in the past year to cope with the substantial growth of its academic books business.

The growth has been partly fuelled by the acquisition of Dutch library supplier Erasmus and the purchase of a number of academic library contracts from Blackwell UK.

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The Thorpe-based firm expects turnover to hit £210m this year, compared to £130m three years ago.

But while total revenues have increased 9.7pc in the 19 weeks ending January 11, like-for-like revenues slipped by 0.4pc, as the traditional bookselling market continued to shrink.

Graeme Underhill, managing director of the EDP Top 100 company, said its e-books business, Dawson Books, would help drive UK and international growth this year, with plans to expand its presence into Germany.

“We have a clear strategy and it is about selling trade books and academic books, while growing our online direct to consumer offer, Wordery,” he said. “They are enabling us to grow in a challenging book market.

“We are creating jobs in Norfolk and we are trying to create a sustainable business for the future.”

“The ebook continues to show good growth in the UK and internationally,” he added. “It is a niche offer, but lending to academic institutions is where we can compete with the big players. We have big plans for the international market. We have just expanded Dawson Books into Spain and France and we are just about to launch into Germany as well. The one area we are committed to investing in is the digital offer, with £5m secured for the next three years.”

Bertram Books parent company Smiths News said revenues fell by 0.4pc year-on-year following a mixed performance across its divisions, but remains on track for “strong” full-year profits growth. Its newspaper and magazine business saw like-for-like revenues fall 2.8pc.

– Has your business created new jobs in the region? Contact Ben Woods at or call 01603 772426.

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