Despite what she described as a “tumultuous year in both the U.S. and around the world” in her year-end letter to S&S employees, S&S CEO and president Carolyn Reidy hailed 2016 as “a period of relative stability in the publishing marketplace.”
In her letter, Reidy cited a year of bookselling success for S&S, led by the publication of Bruce Springsteen’s bestselling autobiography, Born to Run, and supported by a long list of S&S titles on bestseller lists as well as “best of” lists.
“Our precisely coordinated publication by all the Simon & Schuster companies worldwide was the very model of a high-profile, global publishing campaign,” Reidy said about the campaign supporting Born to Run. Reidy also said that “the rest of our list was replete with other successful, attention-grabbing releases.” She pointed to such popular S&S titles as Taraji P. Henson’s Around the Way Girl, Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, and Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody.
Reidy also emphasized S&S’s continuing efforts to find authors and new topics of interest from unconventional cultural sources, such as YouTube. “This phenomenon continues to bear fruit for us in the form of ongoing strong sales—as these titles convert to backlist, as we release bestselling follow-up books, and as we publish new works from first-time authors,” she said.
In light of that continuing effort, Reidy cited the launch of two new imprints: Salaam Reads, aimed at publishing for the Muslim community; and Gallery 13, a new graphic novel imprint. Both are slated to release their first titles in 2017.
“In today’s world, it is ever more possible to mine nontraditional sources for authors and content with popular appeal, and...there will always be new audiences and groups of readers for us to find and serve," Reidy said.
Pointing to the children’s division, Reidy cited the successful new middle grade series, The Misadventures of Max Crumbly by Rachel Renee Russell, author of the bestselling Dork Diaries series, as well as the award-winning works of Jason Reynolds, author of such middle grade and young adult novels as Ghost, As Brace as You, and The Boy in the Black Suit.
In 2016, Simon & Schuster acquired Adams Media, a nonfiction, self-help, business and lifestyle publishing line, from F+W Media. Adams Media publishes about 200 books a year, with a backlist of about 2,000 titles. “Since the purchase officially closed shortly before Thanksgiving we have been hard at work integrating Adams Media into our Simon & Schuster infrastructure and systems, a process that will be completed by January 31,” Reid said.
She also noted the expansion of the Riverside Distribution Center, a state-of-the-art facility that, she said, “doubled our storage capacity and enabled improvements in our service to customers.”
Though she characterized the current publishing landscape as “relatively stable,” Reidy ended her year-end letter with a note of caution on the broader culture. “We can expect that our civic and cultural life will remain turbulent,” she wrote, emphasizing that “as publishers, we will always endeavor to give voice to a wide range of opinions and divergent viewpoints.”
“We publish for many different and frequently conflicting audiences," she added, "and must be fully cognizant of our responsibility to resist censorship and stand unequivocally for freedom of speech, no matter how difficult that might be at times.”