Simon & Schuster have released their financial results and the publisher has reported that for the three months ended September 30, 2015, Publishing revenues increased $4 million, or 2%, to $203 million from $199 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting higher book sales. Best-selling titles in the third quarter of 2015 included The Survivor by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills and Plunder and Deceit by Mark R. Levin, as well as the continued success of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2014 release All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
The real story behind the latest financial results is how S&S continues to see e-book revenue decrease. Publishers Weekly reported that 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%. CEO Carolyn 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 fewer 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.
In 2014 S&S negotiated a new multi-year contract with Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. In the past, these retailers had greater flexibility in discounting e-books, but the new contract allowed the publisher to determine the ultimate price and restricted bookstores from marking down the prices. This has resulted in your standard bestselling e-book increasing in cost from $9.99 on average to $12.99 and up.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.