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S&S Reports Revenues Up, Digital Revenues Down

15317210187_c886cd4124_hSimon & Schuster reported today that revenues had increased for the quarter ending 30 September. Total revenues were $203 million (up from $199 million last year), while operating income increased to $43 million.

Revenues for the first 9 months of 2015 were down 3%, to $547 million, while earnings were up 5%, to, $80 million.

PW has the specifics on the digital revenues:

In the quarter, e-book sales represented 20.4% of total revenue down from 25.1% in last year’s third quarter, while all digital sales accounted for 24.8% in the most recent quarter compared to 28.3%. Reidy said she is not concerned yet about the drop in e-book sales, noting that part of the decline is due to product mix as well as fwere people buying e-reader devices for the first time. She said S&S analysis doesn’t indicated that higher e-book prices are behind the e-book decline.

Reidy attributed the decline in ebook sales to fewer people buying e-reader devices for the first time, rather than the agency ebook contract that S&S negotiated with Amazon last year. She told PW that  S&S analysis doesn’t show that the higher ebook prices are behind the decline in digital revenue.

And she could be correct (well, kinda). Kris Rusch has noted that Amazon is steeply discounting books by the Big Five, possibly as part of a price war with publishers. She found that a lot of books now cost less in paper than digital, so it is possible that readers are shifting their buying habits.

image by ActuaLitté

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George November 4, 2015 um 12:38 pm

Doesn’t matter to me if the Big 5 books are cheaper in print than ebook. Unless they’re available in a format I want, i.e. ebook, and at prices I’m willing to pay, I don’t buy them. Which means I usually don’t buy from the Big 5.

Bridget McKenna November 4, 2015 um 1:14 pm

I’m with George. Nothing shifts a reader’s buying habits like price. If I’m any example, price-shy readers are still buying ebooks, just not theirs. Of course they attribute their e-slide to fewer dedicated e-readers. Or whatever else they can dream up. Otherwise they’d have to admit there’s nothing particularly special about their books when price is an object. Not too many books I’ll pay over $10 for.

Liz November 4, 2015 um 1:55 pm

I think Simon & Schuster has their heads in the sand if they are thinking price doesn’t effect e-book purchasing. It certainly influences my purchases. If an e-book is more than $10 I don’t even consider purchasing which means I probably won’t purchase at all.

Anne November 4, 2015 um 2:30 pm

I can’t read anything attributed to Reidy without being reminded of this quote from Denise Cote’s opinion: Other witnesses who were noteworthy for their lack of credibility included Moerer, Saul, and Reidy.

I don’t find her statements here to be credible either.

Steve H November 4, 2015 um 2:55 pm

I echo George. I actually prefer e-books to print for so many reasons. With the inflated pricing I am looking for cheaper alternative books and even library downloads. I wonder how many consumers have drawn a line at these new 12,13 and 14.99 prices. Hopefully some of my favorite authors will shift to independence of the Big 5. How many months of decreased e-sales will it take for an acknowledgement from publishers.

Syn November 4, 2015 um 3:13 pm

People are reading on their tablets and phones, especially phablet size phones. I wonder if they believe we are buying print because they made ebook prices to high? I know i’M not so it’s a complete lost sale for their authors in many cases. How is this good for the author?

Bridget McKenna November 4, 2015 um 3:27 pm

It’s not at all good for the author, but that’s not S&S’s concern. Until they can see figures that show that their bottom line will actually suffer if they jack up one author and put a hungrier one in her place, that’s what they’ll continue to do. That’s been business as usual in big publishing for 30 years.

Simon & Schuster Reports Digital Revenues Up, eBook Sales Down in Third Quarter | The Digital Reader November 5, 2016 um 10:47 pm

[…] quick check of last year's coverage and the relevant financial report reveals that S&S digital revenue increased just over a […]

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