Digital sales double at S&S, international "booming"

Digital sales more than doubled at Simon & Schuster in its second-quarter but did not offset the decline in print. However, the publisher reported an increase in profits of 12% off the back of the shift to digital and strong international growth.

According to results issued by parent company CBS Corporation, publishing sales were down 3% to $183m (£112.2m), for the three months ending 30th June, while operating income before depreciation and amortisation was up 12% to $19m (£11.6m). The parent noted that the "strong growth in the sale of more profitable digital content was offset by lower print book sales", partly a result of the collapse of Borders US. Digital revenue accounted for 15% of total sales , though this was down from the 18% share in its first quarter.

It did not strip out results for the UK. However, according to Nielsen BookScan figures sales at Simon & Schuster UK were up 11% to £12.6m for the first half of 2011. S&S chief executive Carolyn Reidy told Publishers Marketplace that international was "really booming, led by the UK," with sales growth of 32%.

Reidy suggested the decline in marketshare of digital was a result of fewer purchases after the busy post-Christmas season when readers are loading up their new devices with content, and said the increased profits of digital were relative. She told PM: "I wouldn't say exactly that our margins are significantly better than before the world went through an economic cataclysm."