In her year-end letter to employees, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said that the publisher is on track to “deliver record profits, a healthy gain in revenues, and our best-ever margins.” Reidy attributed the solid year to the continued publication of award-winning titles plus “the increasing sophistication with which we can reach consumers – either through traditional channels or by our greater use of direct-to-consumer marketing efforts.” With S&S’s digital revenues now at more than 27% of total sales, Reidy said the company has developed “deeper relationships” with its e-book partners and is changing “how we position ourselves as a consumer-facing business.”
Reidy noted that since its spokenword audio program, Pimsleur Language, launched its direct-to-consumer platform in 2012 the unit “had a significant rise in traffic and growth in sales” in 2013. Other new marketing activities led to S&S’s author videos being seen by more than 25 million viewers, and its newsletter subscription base has grown by more than 60%.
The company’s digital first imprint, Pocket Star, has been a success and Reidy said S&S “will use the lessons learned from Pocket Star in expanding our digital-first publishing to other categories.” The company will continue to explore other new sales and publishing models, Reidy said, pointing to e-book pilots with the New York, Brooklyn and Queens public libraries, a program that S&S is beginning to roll out to a number of other library systems around the United States and Canada, and to its involvement with new subscription services.
Reidy concluded by telling S&S employees that: “This year we were required to take a fresh look at where and how we sell our books and to be even more resourceful than usual. I was gratified beyond measure at the response of the entire company – from our sales team, marketing department, and publishing imprints, just to name a few – who worked tirelessly to find new outlets and new promotional opportunities, all to achieve our unchanging goal of the widest possible distribution and the greatest sell-through for our authors. In the process we learned many lessons that will prove invaluable in the years ahead.”