Revenues for the third quarter at Simon & Schuster were flat with the comparable period in 2001, but company president Jack Romanos said he was satisfied with the financial performance, since last year's third quarter was an exceptionally good period. Romanos cited in particular John Adams, which was a huge seller at this time last year.
In the most recent quarter, the children's division stood out, with sales up 13%, led by a combination of strong picture books and licensed properties. Sales of new adult titles were led by What We Saw, Self Matters Companion and From a Buick 8. Romanos acknowledged that Stephen King's latest was not immune from what has been a fall-off in sales of several brand name fiction authors. Romanos blamed a decline in bookstore foot traffic for the soft sales.
For the first nine months of 2002, sales are 6% ahead of last year, and Romanos is optimistic that S&S will be able to hold that gain through the fourth quarter.
S&S is also doing its part in an HIV/AIDS education and prevention initiative that Viacom is undertaking in conjunction with the Kaiser Family Foundation. S&S is publishing a 32-page booklet that will be the information package for the campaign and, in January, it will also begin running ads in selected teen and adult oriented paperbacks that will point people to where they can get more information about HIV testing and prevention. Adam Rothberg, spokesperson for S&S, noted that the ads are "rights free," and said he "hopes other publishers join us" in placing the ads in their books.