Friday, November 5, 2010

Ebook Sales Up, Total Sales Down At Publisher Simon & Schuster

All the buzz about the iPad and other ebook readers has one publishing giant hopeful, concerned, and iffy on developing apps.

The app store is too crowded and prices [are] too low,” said Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy about why S&S has not been moving faster to create apps. She made the comment while releasing news that S&S is making more money on fewer sales. 
Digital sales contributed 7.1% to the company's operating income while overall sales dropped 5.5% in the third quarter, the company reported.  Adjusted sales figures rose to $42.4 million, but sales for the first 9 months of the year felll 2.4% to $559 million.

Ebooks were one of the pluses for the company.  They contributed to a financial scene for S&S in which its operating income (earnings before deductions of interest payments and taxes) rose 10.9% for the third quarter, up to $29.5 million. 
Reidy said the earnings improvement came from various sources, including ebook sales, “a good publishing program,” strong gains overseas—especially in the UK—as well as improvement in S&S's supply chain operations and better cost controls.

Though concerned about how well traditional bookstores can help S&S improve sales of its top line of books, she's optimistic that both print and digital sales will keep the publishing industry healthy.  The financial health of bookstores, plagued with both the national economic woes and the impact of ebook sales, has many in publishing worried about how the retail connection with the consumer will do in coming months.

With upcoming holiday buying season moving into gear, she hopes all of the media buzz about ebooks and ereaders will lead people to put books on their present-giving shopping lists.

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