Few details are known at this time, and all we really know is what the WSJ has reported:
Hachette isn’t the only book publisher facing down Amazon.
The country’s largest bookseller is also in talks with Simon & Schuster, said Leslie Moonves, CEO of the publisher’s parent CBS Corp. at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. Moonves added that he’d personally met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a recent conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
“Amazon has a definite point of view about what should be done in the publishing business,” said Moonves. “It’s going to be a very interesting thing to watch.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what the nature of Amazon’s talks with Simon & Schuster are, and a spokesman for the book publisher declined to comment. An Amazon spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
No one yet knows why Amazon is in talks with Simon & Schuster, but as DBW pointed out Amazon isn't pulling any dirty tricks with S&S print titles. The responsible thing would be to wait for leaks from S&S which add details to the story.
In the meantime, let me float an idea past you: Could this be a deal for Amazon to buy S&S?
That is a crazy idea, yes, but hear me out. Before you send for the trank guns, just remember that in the past 6 months I accurately called the Dropbox-Readmill deal, the Comixology acquisition, and the Nook Media spin off.
And now I wonder if Amazon is going to buy S&S.
One thing I've never shared is that in the back of my mind I keep a list of
countries companies Amazon might want to buy. S&S is on that list under the heading major trade publisher.
To put it simply, Simon & Schuster is the smallest of the Big 5, and there's no real connection between it and its parent company - not like there is for the 4 other major US trade publishers.
With $800 million in revenue in 2013, S&S is the smallest of the major US trade publishers (in terms of revenue). It is a wholly owned sub of CBS, a $15 billion a year company with operations mainly in the US.
Assuming Amazon were in the market to buy a major trade publisher, S&S would be the easiest target. It's smaller than HarperCollins and it's not owned by or part of a multinational publishing conglomerate (unlike PRH, Macmillian, and Hachette).
Of course, we don't know Amazon is in the market to buy a major trade publisher so this is purely speculative. This could just be a contract negotiation for book and ebook distribution, and if that is the case someone will leak something.
Until we know more, I plan to hold this as a possibility and not a probability.