Simon & Schuster posted a sales increase of 7%, to $224 million, while operating profits increased about 8% to $41 million for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013. Sales of e-books and digital downloads led the gains, with total digital sales up 39% over the third quarter of 2012. At the end of the quarter, digital sales accounted for 27% of all S&S revenue compared to 21% at the end of last year's third period. Print sales were also up in the third quarter.
Stephen King's Doctor Sleep was one of the top sellers in the period along with several Duck Dynasty titles, including Si-Cology and Happy, Happy, Happy. Cassandra Clare titles led sales in the children's group. A new book from the Dynasty's Robertson family, Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen, is due out this month. S&S has a host of titles it expects to do well in the final quarter, including Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh, already off to a strong start; other titles with big expectations include The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith, and Hero by Rhonda Byrne.
S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy attributed the solid quarterly sales gain, its best in a number of periods, to strong sales through all its channels. Sales of Duck Dynasty titles, for example, did particularly well at mass merchants and Walmart, said Reidy, noting the books by the family did especially well in print. Overall, Reidy said, S&S had a number of books that sold "beyond our expectations." The Clare books helped to drive sales in the children's division to double-digit gains while adult sales rose by just under the 10% mark. The strong performance in the company's top line shows the health of the industry, Reidy said, acknowledging that it didn't hurt that all its books were fully represented at Barnes & Noble following the resolution of their dispute over terms.
For the first nine months of 2013, operating profit at the publisher was up 39%, to $71 million on a 1.5% revenue gain to $584 million. Reidy said that given the feed back from accounts she is feeling "really great about the holidays...I think we are going to have a great year."