Revenue at Simon & Schuster rose 11% in the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 over the comparable period a year ago, hitting $161 million, according to the publisher’s parent company, CBS.
Operating income also rose, increasing to $14 million from $13 million in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 8%. CBS noted that the discrepancy between the gain in the top and bottom line was due to higher selling and production costs associated with the sales increase.
S&S pointed to a string of bestsellers for the strong first quarter performance, including Unshakeable, A Man Called Ove, All By Myself, End of Watch, Dork Diaries 11 and Baseball Genius. The purchase of Adams Media late last year also gave a boost to sales as did the release of the first books in two new imprints, Gallery 13 and Salaam Reads, which focuses on Muslim characters and stories..
S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy noted that all four of the company's divisions had gains in the quarter, with three posting double-digit increases. The biggest improvement came in the audio group, led by a 35% increase sales of digital audio,"but the adult group wasn't far behind," Reidy said. While digital audio sales were up in the period, e-book sales fell.
Reidy said the sales increase was mainly due to better titles released than a year ago. She said the market is generally stable and all the media attention being paid to the Trump administration has pluses and minuses. The plethora of breaking news stories has caused some authors to lose promised spots, but since so many people are watching TV, authors that do get air time are likely being watched by more people.
After the solid start to the year, Reidy is optimistic about prospects for all of 2017, noting that a number of the company's biggest authors have books due out, among them Brad Thor, Ruth Ware, Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Stephen and Owen King, and Walter Isaacson. S&S will also be be publishing three established authors for the first time in 2017--Tom Perrotta, Nelson DeMille, and Jennifer Egan. "I have read them all and all three authors are at the top of their game," Reidy said.