Overshadowed by yesterday's news that it had been acquired by the private equity firm KKR, Simon & Schuster turned in what CEO Jonathan Karp called “a solid quarter” with operating income rising 14%, to $91 million, for the second period ended June 30, 2023. Revenue in the quarter was basically flat at $292 million.

Karp said S&S’s audio group, as it did in the first quarter, again led results while Simon & Schuster’s U.K. division “had a fantastic quarter.” Titles that broke out in the quarter included Jack Carr’s Only the Dead and Hannah Grace’s Icebreaker, which Karp said now has more than 700,000 copies in print. On the children’s side, Karp believes Middle School and Other Disasters could be a major new series pointing to the success of the first book Worst Broommate Ever!

Coupled with a strong first quarter report, S&S finished the first half of 2023 with sales up 8% over the comparable period in 2022, rising to $550 million from $510 million a year ago. Operating income jumped 14%, to $149 million.

S&S executives have been coy when asked whether they think they can beat S&S’s record 2022 when revenue was $1.18 billion. Karp acknowledged that sales of adult fiction may slow compared to the last six months of 2022—“Colleen Hoover can’t keep selling in the numbers she has been forever”—but he is counting on a strong adult nonfiction list to drive sales. Potential blockbusters include The Woman in Me by Britney Spears, The Democratic Party Hates America by Mark Levin, Enough by Cassidy Hutchinson, Network of Lies by Brian Stelter, and Walter Isaacson’s Elon Musk. After reviewing the lineup, Karp told PW, “I’m feeling pretty good about the fall.”