Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simon and Schuster ebook sales now 15% of revenues

The recent Q2 results for CBS corp included the Simon and Schuster results too, under the Publishing section. While overall revenues went down in the past year, the ebook and digital sales grew and more than doubled in revenue. Which means that those sales now count for 15% of their business!

I'm excited - I hope this translates into easier ebook sales in multiple countries.
Wouldn't it also be great if ebooks are released on the same day as the hardback release, but priced lower? I know that cannibalization of hardback sales by ebooks is a real and prevalent issue but Publishers ought to start figuring out ways to combat this aside from Price. 
"Publishing revenues for the second quarter of 2011 decreased 3% to $183 million from $189 million for the same prior-year period, as strong growth in the sale of more profitable digital content was offset by lower print book sales.  Digital content revenues for the second quarter of 2011 more than doubled last year's second quarter digital sales and represented 15% of Publishing's total revenues.  Best-selling titles in the second quarter included The Greater Journey by David McCullough and The Original Argument by Glenn Beck."
Read the entire results here (
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  1. Unpopular opinion time...I think if publishers want to save publishing as we know it, they need to eliminate hard cover releases and focus on trade paperbacks and ebooks. Other than the Harry Potter books, I haven't bought a hardcover in 10 years. Why spend 2x the money for a book that I can wait 4 months for to be released in paperback?

    And with the economy being what it is, a lot of readers have also stopped buying hardcovers because they can't afford them. Wouldn't it be better for publishers to have five people buy a book at $12 each than only one person buying a $30 hardcover?

    Also, I think ebook prices should be lowered as the overhead for publishers to produce them is almost negligible compared to print copies.

    (And now I slink off to the corner to avoid being beaten with the hardcovers of very thick books from angry readers/writers/publishers...)


  2. Lori - great comment!
    I recently read just how profitable hardbacks are to publishers, versus paperbacks.
    The profit margin on hardbacks is much higher than paperbacks and I believe the publisher would need to sell something like 3-4 paperbacks to make the profit they get from 1 hardback.

    However, your point is valid, and it looks like publishers are coming around to your way of thinking - the time between hardbacks and paperbacks is progressively decreasing, and ebooks now release at almost the same time as the hardback.


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