In a year-end letter to employees that dealt heavily with digital developments and its impact on the industry and Simon & Schuster, company CEO Carolyn Reidy thanked the publisher’s worldwide staff for their efforts in helping the company achieve its profit targets, despite revenues falling below expectations. Reidy said sales were "lower than we'd like them to be" primarily because of a soft bricks-and-mortar bookselling environment that offset digital gains. She added, however, that there are signs that the retail market is beginning to stir, and challenged S&S to “focus on recapturing the revenue-based growth that properly reflects the excellence of our publishing.”
Reidy predicted that 2010 will be seen as the year in which “publishing changed irrevocably,” adding that the growth in digital sales experienced this year will continue for the foreseeable future. S&S has moved on a number of fronts to take advantage of the digital revolution, integrating the creation of digital content into S&S’s editorial and production processes, and used the Internet and social media to market its titles. The year also saw S&S implement the agency sales, a selling model.
In 2010, S&S children’s publishing group “is booming and their results this year are the strongest in their history,” Reidy said led by gains in teen, fantasy and middle grade categories. Highlights in the adult group included higher sales for authors such as James Lee Burke, Kresley Cole, Vince Flynn, Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner. The international group is thriving “as never before” she added with its U.K. division in particular having a solid year with sales up by more than 18% in a market Reidy said has declined by 3%.
Reidy ended on a high note, pointing to reasons she is optimistic about the future of publishing: favorable demographics; the increasing diversity of the U.S. population and the publishing opportunities that provides; higher literacy rates among the country’s youngest readers; a larger percentage of adults who are purchasing books; and the changes in digital publishing, with its many possibilities for bringing books to readers anytime and anywhere.
“While it may seem that our world is in perpetual flux, the dramatic changes we are experiencing also offer us the exciting chance to learn something new every day, something that will help us to move our company forward in this new era of publishing,” Reidy said. “Our mission remains constant: to find the content that readers want, to nurture our authors in their careers and publish their work in readers’ format of choice, to assure that it is distributed as widely as possible, and to help our authors find their maximum audience.”