S&S Sales Up But Earnings Drop
Sales at Simon & Schuster rose 3%, to $189 million, in the second quarter ended June 30, but costs associated with lawsuits tied to the agency e-book pricing model led to a $10 million drop in OIBDA, which fell to $9 million. Digital sales offset slow print sales, rising 44% and accounting for 21% of total revenue (about $40 million). S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy said that without the extra costs, profits would have been up “significantly” over last year’s second quarter.
ABA, B&N Seek Joint Brief
The ABA and Barnes & Noble have teamed up to file a motion for permission to file a “friend of the court” brief in the Department of Justice’s settlement agreement with Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins. The booksellers argue that the DoJ’s agreement with the three publishers would hurt their businesses by forcing the houses to discontinue agency pricing on e-books for two years, even though the agency model is legal. The motion also blasts the DoJ’s response to the 868 comments it received about the settlement, claiming it lacks understanding of the publishing business.
New Harper Christian Division
HarperCollins has created a new Christian publishing division, bringing Thomas Nelson and Zondervan under the same roof. Mark Schoenwald has been named president and CEO of the new division, reporting to Brian Murray, president and CEO of Harper-Collins. Zondervan president Scott MacDonald is leaving that post. Schoenwald had been president and CEO of Thomas Nelson before its acquisition by Harper last month. He said, “everything is under review” in the new division. He will remain based in Nashville, and Zondervan has renewed its lease for one year in its Grand Rapids, Mich., location.
Harlequin Sales Down, Earnings Up
Second-quarter sales at Harlequin fell to C$107.0 million from C$110.3 million, but operating profit rose to C$18.0 million from C$16.3 million in last year’s second period. The drop in revenue was due to the decline in sales of print titles that was not entirely offset by higher digital sales. Earnings rose due to lower promotional spending and a lower returns provision. For all of Harlequin, digital revenue was 20.4% of total sales in the quarter (and the six-month period), compared to 15.0% for the second quarter of 2011 (and 14.3% for the six months). Beginning July 1, Harlequin raised its e-book royalty rate on its frontlist titles and for much of its backlist.
F + W Acquires Interweave
F + W Media has acquired Aspire Media, the parent company of Interweave, in a move the unites two of the country’s largest publishers of niche content. The company will keep the Interweave name and brands intact and expand its digital publishing, e-commerce, and online and event businesses.