Simon And Shuster

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TED is one of the leading conferences where luminaries all over the world give a 18 minutes or less talk. Past speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman. Today, TED has partnered with Simon & Schuster to publisher a 12 book series.

S&S plans on rolling out a new title every month or two beginning in September 2014. Some of the books set to be published include The Virtue of Stillness by Pico Iyer, How We’ll Live on Mars by Stephen Petranek, and Storytelling in the Age of Distraction by Nicholas Thompson. The books will feature a signature look with cover art designed by the legendary jacket artist and TED speaker, Chip Kidd.

TED and Simon & Schuster will distribute the books and eBooks in all available sales channels, and the books will be supported by TED’s media partners and the highly-trafficked website.

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Simon & Schuster is organizing a writing contest aimed at students and it will be orchestrated by their Simon451 imprint. The company is calling for science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatral fiction, superhero fiction, utopian or dystopian fiction, apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction, or alternate history in literature. They are only looking for full-length novels only and not short stories or novellas.

The contest is basically aimed at the college and university crowd and the winner will receive a full publishing contract. The winner will also get an all expenses paid trip to New York for the Comic On.

The submission period runs from February 1, 2014 – March 15, 2014, during which entrants are asked to provide a 250-word synopsis and the first fifty pages of their novel via the online entry form. Ten finalists will be chosen and contacted by April 15, 2014, at which time they will be asked to submit their complete novels for consideration. After that, a winner will be selected.

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Simon and Schuster has just modernized their family of websites to appeal to readers who visit them on mobile or tablet devices. The final phase of their roll out includes author and corporate webpages in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The rebuilt sites make use of the latest in responsive web design to automatically reconfigure’s content according to screen size, providing an optimal experience no matter how the user comes to the site: via desktop browser, tablet or mobile devices.

“In 2012 just 11% of traffic to our site came through mobile devices. One year later mobile represents 26% of traffic and the rate of growth is accelerating,” said Ellie Hirschhorn, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Simon & Schuster. “Our goal is to provide easy and direct access to the most relevant information to our readers wherever they are and on whatever device they are using, and responsive design allows us to accomplish that.”

In addition to optimizing its domestic and international consumer sites, in the United States Simon & Schuster’s dedicated communities, PulseIt (for teens) and XOXO After Dark (for women’s fiction) feature mobile-optimized html5 e-readers, which enable visitors to read the books on mobile and tablet devices, thus supporting and enhancing the user experience for the high volume of mobile traffic to those sites.

The next phase of their website revamp will focus on their business development, education, library and publishing support websites.


Publisher Simon and Schuster and bookstore chain Barnes and Noble have been locked in a quiet battle since March.  The bookstore chain wanted deeper discounts on books and leveraged their in-store ordering to make it happen, leaving authors to contend that this spat was damaging their sales. During the disagreement, Barnes and Noble locations were not providing display space or allowing book tour appearances.

The New York Times reported that, “The dispute centers on the financial arrangement between Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster. While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.”

It looks like the heavy handed approach worked, as today both sides released a brief statement saying that the dispute has ended. “Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster today announced that they have resolved their outstanding business issues.  Both parties said they look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”

There is no public information on the new terms and what type of discounts Barnes and Noble is getting from one of the largest publishers in the world. Considering how deeply ebook sales are being slashed in price, B&N should be a little bit more sustainable in their retail book selling business.

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cary-goldstein-gina-levayThere is some big news that just happened in the publishing industry today. Cary Goldstein has joined Simon & Schuster as the new Vice President, Executive Director of Publicity and Senior Editor. In his new role, Goldstein will supervise the Simon & Schuster publicity department and acquire a select number of fiction and nonfiction titles.

Goldstein was previously publisher of Twelve at the Hachette Book Group where he oversaw publicity campaigns for God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, War by Sebastian Junger, Columbine by Dave Cullen, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner, Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley, and True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy.

Deb Futter will be taking Cary Goldsteins former position at Twelve, she arrived from Grand Central by way of Doubleday in 2007. “For the past 5 years, Deb Futter has done a brilliant job as Vice President, Editor in Chief of GCP, and now she will add to her responsibilities the role of Publisher of Twelve,” Jaime Raab, the president and publisher of Grand Central Publishing, wrote. “Now, I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for Twelve, and feel confident that Deb will take the imprint in bold and successful new directions.”

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Simon & Shuster has joined Harper Collins and Hachette by reaching a new agreement with major online booksellers. The company has officially started to disband the old agency pricing model, which limited the ability of Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble from establishing their own prices. Amazon and iBooks are currently discounting most ebooks from S&S and other retailers should start slashing the prices very soon.

Totally absolving the agency model of bookselling has been one of the most notable news items of 2012. Many publishers colluded with Apple when it launched iBooks to create a uniform ebook pricing structure to disrupt Amazon’s complete dominance over the industry. This caught the attention of not only the US Justice Department but also the European Union, where price fixing and cartels are illegal. Apple and Penguin continue to fight it out in court, but most other publishers ended up disbanding the old agency model and now allow online retailers to establish their own prices.

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Simon & Schuster has formed a strategic partnership with Author Solutions for a new self-publishing platform. The two companies have formed Archway Publishing and will focus on fiction, non-fiction, business, and children’s books.

Author Solutions is one of the leading self-publishing imprints and has assisted 150,000 authors self-publish, promote, and bring to market more than 190,000 new titles. It offers various services, including publicity, video trailers, cover art, and advertising. This new venture might be quite out of reach for most aspiring authors due to the prohibitive costs.

If you are looking to publish a fiction book, the baseline cost is around $1,999 and spans all the way to over $15,000. This includes both the electronic version and the tangible edition. The company will list your book on Barnes and Noble and make it available for Ingram to distribute to over 25,000 bookstores. Not only do you have to pay them to self-publish, but this new self-publishing solution will also take 50% royalties on each book you sell through them.

Author Solutions adamantly states that Archway is not an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The major publisher has guidelines for cover art and book construction and adopts a hands off approach. If your book sells really well via the traditional bookstore approach or online sales, you may appear on the company’s radar.

This may not be the best solution of the majority of new authors and the traditionally self-published. Archway Publishing may provide an all-in-one stop, but you can find companies to make you cover art for less than $100.00 and video trailer services for another $100. This should be a company you should avoid at all costs.

Simon & Schuster has reported its third quarter earnings today and digital revenue is up 20% over the same period last year and represented approximately 21% of total publishing revenues. Best-selling titles in the third quarter included Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Black List by Brad Thor.

Most major publishing companies saw massive digital gains in the 3rd quarter of 2012. HarperCollins saw a very modest 18% increase in sales over the 10% it garnered in 2011. Penguin recently reported that in the first six months of the year, one in five books it sold is digital.

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HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster have settled with the Justice Department in the Apple ebook collusion case, and it may really benefit customers. Today these three companies reached a settlement of $69 million dollars that will be distributed to 49 States in the USA. This will give people who bought ebooks in the past from these publishers partial refunds on their original purchases for around $1.00 to $2.00.

Penguin and Macmillan are the only two top six publishing companies that are refusing to settle with the Justice Department. The entire case stemmed from a government probe on Apple price fixing the landscape of ebooks when it first launched the iBooks service. In order to launch successfully they had to compete against Amazon, which is firmly entrenched as one of the top content distribution platforms. Instead of competing with low prices, Apple had convinced the top six publishers to set their own prices on ebooks instead of allowing Amazon to buy them in bulk and then undercut the competition.

“This action sends a strong message that this sort of anticompetitive behavior will not be accepted,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, who led the states’ investigation into ebook pricing along with the state of Texas. “Through our ongoing litigation, we hope to provide additional restitution to consumers. Additionally, I’m especially proud of the exemplary bipartisan cooperation on both the state and federal level on this matter, which involved 54 states and jurisdictions working together on behalf of consumers across the country.”

When the settlement is officially approved there is the question of how customers will be paid. Baltimore’s ABC News reports that “in most cases, consumers may choose to receive the value of their restitution by check or by crediting the amount to future purchases of ebooks. eBook retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo have agreed to identify and contact each eligible customer by email.  Retailers Google and Sony will also notify affected customers. Sony will inform customers that checks will automatically be issued. Google customers will be directed to submit a claim on a settlement website.”