Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster was founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln (“Max”) Schuster. Simon & Schuster became the trade publishing division of the CBS Corporation in 2006, and publishes and distributes consumer books under imprints such as Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Atria, Touchstone, Gallery Books, Pocket Books, Howard Books, Threshold Editions, and Free Press. Children’s imprints include Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse, Aladdin, Little Simon, Beach Lane Books, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Paula Wiseman Books and Simon Spotlight.
The company publishes over 2,000 titles annually from 35 imprints and is active in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia with an international sales presence in every major market. A new international company, Simon & Schuster India, was launched in 2011.
Analysis & Key Developments
Simon & Schuster’s revenues were down 3.8% or 31 million USD, from 809 to 778 million USD in 2014. The decline was due to lower book sales in compared to a boost from 2013 bestsellers such as the Duck Dynasty series and The Great Gatsby. Digital sales also fell in 2014. Operating income decreased 6 million USD to 100 million USD in 2014.
In 2014 Simon & Schuster launched a number of new imprints, including Jeter Publishing with sports icon Derek Jeter that will publish books for readers of all ages, and in the field of science fiction and fantasy, Simon451 and SAGA Press.
Sales were down in both the U.S. and international markets in 2014, with declines in both adult and children’s books. S&S’s distribution business rose by 30% in 2014, and more growth is expected for 2015.
In 2014, the overall sale of digital content, including audio downloads, represented approximately 26.4% of Simon & Schuster’s revenues, down from 27.1% in 2013. E-books accounted for 23.2%, down from 24.4% in 2013. CEO and president Carolyn Reidy Reidy noted that “it remains to be seen” whether sluggish e-book sales will be reversed, or if the market has found a sort of print/digital balance.” In 2014 Simon & Schuster sold e-books in more than 200 countries and territories.
Simon & Schuster is expanding its e-book library lending program and started initiatives with e-book subscription services Oyster and Scribd to expand availability of S&S e-books to more than 200 library systems around the country. “While both initiatives are very small,” Reidy said, “they offer a strategic move to be in the forefront of new ways to sell our titles.”
In October Amazon and S&S signed a new agreement on e-book pricing that is “a return to a version of agency pricing that, with some limited exceptions, gives control of e-book pricing to Simon & Schuster”, Reidy said. The multi-year-deal covers both print and digital books and became effective on January 1, 2015. Previously, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves revealed that the company discussed “various issues” with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in July 2014. While he declined to provide details, it was widely assumed the talks were over new sales terms. Simon & Schuster looks to have become the first of the big five to resume something close to the agency model for e-book sales.
In February 2015, S&S created the new position director of global digital and online sales, assigned by Colin Shields, head of S&S digital sales. Reidy cited expansion in the global e-book market as opportunity for growth: “Just as Simon & Schuster has adopted a global approach to e-book policy and business development, we can profitably apply the same principle to our selling and marketing efforts.”
In 2014, Simon & Schuster published 294 New York Times bestsellers in hardcover, paperback and electronic formats, including 29 New York Times #1 bestsellers. Bestselling titles in 2014 included Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Revival by Stephen King and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Bestselling children’s titles include City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, Rush Revere and the First Patriots by Rush Limbaugh and Dork Diaries 7 by Rachel Renée Russell.