Simon & Schuster's worldwide revenues for 2018 dipped fractionally to $825m from $830m in 2017, due to lower print sales in the fourth quarter of 2018, with a small rise in operating income from reduced production costs, parent company CBS has said.
Meanwhile S&S UK’s c.e.o. Ian Chapman said 2018 was “solid” for the UK business, and described 2019 as “buoyant” thus far.
The business's global publishing revenues of $218m for the fourth quarter of 2018 decreased 7% from $235m compared to the previous year, while operating income of $46m increased 2% from $45m. For the 12 months ended 31st December 2018, operating income was up to $144m from $136m the previous year and president and c.e.o. Carolyn Reidy told Publishers Marketplace that it was the company’s 16th consecutive quarter of profit growth.
CBS said the decrease in revenue was down to lower print book sales in the fourth quarter, in which.bestselling titles included Elevation by Stephen King and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. Reidy said the fourth quarter’s sales decline was “just the timing of our titles,” after “the big titles hit in third quarter”.The diminished operating income was due to lower production costs, CBS said.
UK results were not split out of the financial filing. However S&S UK’s c.e.o. Ian Chapman said: “2018 was a solid year for Simon & Schuster UK, we saw gains in our homegrown publishing programme and our client publishing business went from strength to strength. We started the year in great form with the likes of Our House by Louise Candlish and Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan performing well and Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for January.”
He cited other top performing titles as Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood and Ella Okstad, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, Fear by Bob Woodward and Spitfire by John Nichol.
The focus on regional sales has seen results, he revealed. “We strategically bolstered our regional sales force this year which immediately impacted growth as well as having terrific support from the retailers with three Richard and Judy titles, a Waterstones Fiction and Thriller of the Month and a W H Smith Book of the Year.
“We've had a buoyant start to 2019, our fiction revenues are up 30% and we are feeling ambitious despite a challenging retail environment. We have brand authors doing exciting new things such as Philippa Gregory and Nicci French, as well as more from Louise Candlish. Our non-fiction list is arguably even stronger than 2018 with a varied and commercial autumn programme coming together.”
Chapman also revealed that the children’s list “has an exciting year ahead” through promotions with Waterstones, World Book Day and significant anniversaries of bestselling brands.
“In an undeniably turbulent and unpredictable time, Simon & Schuster is in great shape for the year ahead,” he said.
CBS revenues were at $4bn over the quarter, up 3% from the previous year with full year revenue of $14.5bn, a rise of 6%.