Home » Big Publishing, Ebooks » Profits Rose 32% in 2013 at S&S

Profits Rose 32% in 2013 at S&S

14 February 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

Operating income at Simon & Schuster rose 32% in 2013, to $106 million on a sales increase of 2.4%, to $809 million, parent company CBS reported. The publisher closed 2013 with a solid fourth quarter with sales up 4.6% over the fourth quarter of 2012 and income up 30%. Sales in the quarter were $225 million and operating income $35 million. Fourth quarter sales were driven by an increase in sales of print books, something CEO Carolyn Reidy attributed in part to the mix of titles, especially the strong physical sales of the three Duck Dynasty books–Happy, Happy, Happy, Si-Cology 1, Commander Family–plus Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.

Reidy was quick to add that digital sales rose in the quarter as well. For the full year of 2013 digital sales increased about 22% and accounted for approximately 27% of revenue for the year compared to 23% in 2012. Reidy said the S&S is still seeing strong e-book sales gains in frontlist commercial fiction.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Big Publishing, Ebooks

15 Comments to “Profits Rose 32% in 2013 at S&S”

  1. Does anybody else find it hysterical that the books listed as particularly profitable are all ones that any decent New York Publishing Executive would find absolutely disgusting?

    • The only books they find disgusting are the ones that don’t make money. The ones that generate big bucks are golden.

      • Reminds me of something I read about the conversion to digital music. The big-sellers in older formats were targeted to audiences that were later converters. Example: Susan Boyle

        • Exactly. I was on a site, don’t remember which, that listed the % of sales of some of the best sellers in terms of ebook versus print. Conservative leaning books (including those by the Duck Dynasty stars, Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly) all sold significantly higher in print (averaging about 75% print to 25% ebook) while the rest of the titles were in the area of 50/50 or leaned slightly higher toward ebook.

          While I was happy that the type of work I publish definitely favors ebooks, I was also disturbed by the fact that the statistics might lead large trade publishers to begin leaning conservative in their selection of what to publish.

    • Snooki lives!

  2. No Tsunami of Swill there, no sir! Only high-level literature.

  3. Digital sales are 27% of revenue. That makes me wonder a few things.

    1. What happens when B&N closes?

    2. What happens when authors stop accepting 12.5% ebook royalties?

    3. What happens when middle adopters, late adopters, and laggards embrace ebooks?

    I just don’t see this as a sustainable business model.

  4. With bookstore sales down and S&S profits up, then it seems obvious that this profit is entirely on the shoulders of the 75% margin on the ebook.

    The “paper is 70%” meme has to be false.

    Joe, I can see why you get worked up. It’s quite obvious the only thing sustaining this business is the steady stream of authors signing away 75% of ebook.

    • The “paper is 70%” meme has to be false.

      It is. Every corporate drone you see parrot that statistic is referring to data reported by either Bowker (who only sees ISBN numbers–which many indie titles don’t have because digital retailers don’t require them) or AAP (who uses a self-reporting model).

      I may be missing somebody. I’m sure someone can correct if I am.

      • It’s all pretty opaque. Seems possible that paper for big pub represents 70% of sales – at a very low margin. And then their electronic sales are relatively low, but at a huge margin.

        Why I care is even more confusing.

  5. Do take another look at their successful titles! Consider their book-buying audience.

    I for one am in trouble.

  6. If the backbone of a publishing business consists of people buying paper copies of Duck Dynasty books, you may want to think about selling your shares.

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