Digital helps lift profit at Simon & Schuster

Digital sales were worth 18% of Simon & Schuster's total global sales in its first quarter as its revenues increased 2% to $155m. Digital revenue more than doubled to $27.9m (£16.9m) from the first quarter in 2010, with e-book sales in the UK also growing fast, now 3% of revenue.

S&S' digital figures come a day after Hachette revealed e-books accounted for 22% of sales in the US during its first quarter. In the UK, Hachette e-books were worth more than 5% of trade sales.

For the three months to 31st March, Simon & Schuster's operating income before debt and amortisation (OIBDA) more than doubled to $7m. The publisher said it was driven by lower shipping, production and returns costs because of the increase in digital sales.

The results did not strip out UK figures. According to Nielsen BookScan figures, S&S UK sales were up 11% to £5.9m in its first quarter.  Leslie Mooves, president and c.e.o. of S&S parent CBS Corporation, said: "Across the board, this was an exceptionally strong quarter for CBS, giving us a tremendous start in 2011." Overall, CBS sales were down 1% to $3.51bn and OIBDA was up 64% to $576m.

Reidy told Publishers Marketplace that e-book sales in the UK were in the range of 3% of sales on average. The company was up 13% in the first quarter in UK, while the children's division was up more than 14%.