Despite its continuing disagreement with Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster did not experience a significant drop in first quarter sales–just 3 percent to $171 million–as the company took steps to make up for business lost as it’s trying to negotiate a resolution with the bookseller.
According to Publishers Lunch (subscription required):
“The company attributed the sales decline to difficult comparisons to a year ago, when Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and Stephen King’s 11/22/63 were still selling well in hardcover and new Vince Flynn was on the schedule, rather than the diminished orders and promotion at Barnes & Noble, which ceo Carolyn Reidy says “was not a major factor in our results.” Reidy indicated the company “worked really hard to find other outlets to sell books and to make up the distribution in other venues,” as well as deploying “extra marketing” and promotion.”
S&S also enjoyed higher profits during the quarter, with adjusted operating income up $2 million to $10 million. CBS Corporation disclosed the publisher’s performance in the notes to its quarterly financial report yesterday.
“The company attributes the earnings gain to ‘lower legal costs’–this time last year they were resolving the ebook pricing cases–and, as usual, ‘a decrease in operating expenses as a result of the growth in more profitable digital book sales,’” according to Publishers Lunch.
The publisher’s latest financial results notwithstanding, authors are undeniably affected by the “diminished orders and promotion” of their titles as a result of the ongoing battle over terms between B&N and S&S. See “B&N vs. S&S: Keep Authors Out of It” for more on that dispute.