Simon & Schuster followed a familiar pattern in posting sales and earnings gains in the third quarter ended September 30, 2017, over the comparable period in 2016—sales of print books posted gains while, according to S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy, sales of downloadable audio rose about 37%. E-book sales fell again.
Overall, S&S reported that sales rose 1%, to $228 million, in the quarter, and operating income increased 4.5%, to $46 million.
Also contributing to the improved results was a good performance by the publisher's international group, where Hillary Clinton's What Happened posted solid sales in the U.K., Canada, and Ireland, Reidy said. The international division also benefited from sales of Rupi Kaur's new book, The Sun and Her Flowers, which S&S is now publishing internationally. Despite the success abroad, Reidy said she has no plans to expand the company's overseas operations beyond its English-language program. "We are going to focus on our English-language companies and see if we can get them to work even better together," she said.
Back in the U.S., Reidy said movie tie-in books sold well in the quarter, and she pointed to the success of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, which had strong sale despite a mediocre reception for the film. The purchase of Adams Media last November contributed to the gains, and Adams continues to perform along expectations, Reidy said.
Reidy said that after a rather lackluster beginning to 2017, she believes consumers are responding favorably to a "robust" lineup of new books. In addition to What Happened and The Glass Castle, S&S has seen solid sales for Sleeping Beauties, Enemy of the State, The Cuban Affair, and Dork Diaries 12, among other books.
Through the first nine months of the year, sales at S&S were up 6.6%, to $595 million, over the comparable period a year ago, and operating income increased 6.0%, to $88 million. Reidy is optimistic S&S will finish 2017 on a strong note and predicted that sales for the publisher, even excluding Adams, will be up over 2016.