S&S' global revenues slip 3% in first half, Chapman 'encouraged' in the UK

S&S' global revenues slip 3% in first half, Chapman 'encouraged' in the UK

Simon & Schuster's global revenues for the first half of 2020 dipped 3%, down from $382m to $370m, according to parent firm ViacomCBS's latest results. Earnings however rose to $57m, up 6% from $54m.  

In the second quarter, revenue fell 8% to $200m (2019: $218m), with lower print book sales resulting from the impact of Covid-19, although this was partially offset by digital growth in sales of e-book and audiobooks. 

Earnings in the quarter rose to $38m (2019: $35m), a 9% boost thanks to lower production and distribution costs associated with the decline in print book sales. 

ViacomCBS said bestsellers for the quarter, ended 30th June, included John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened and Stephen King’s If It Bleeds.

In the UK, Ian Chapman, c.e.o at S&S, said the second quarter had been "very encouraging" and he is confident in the company's trajectory for the coming quarter.

Speaking to The Bookseller, he said: "The second quarter has been very encouraging, and reflects what has been reported in the States. Our profits are up, we've been pleasantly suprised at the sales, which have been rock-steady, and solid. Our backlist has benefitted. In terms of revenues, there was a blip in the lockdown period, but we've come back strongly. We're working incredibly effectively at home, we're performing very well. In terms of covering the blip, e-books have definitely trended upwards in lockdown, backlists were strong and have maintained. We are 32% up on our BookScan results last year."

Chapman added that the third party distribution S&S offers, to publishers including Elliott and Thompson, was also "doing well", and he was optimistic about the "wealth of titles" the press has coming out in September. He also said he anticipates some books already published to continue their success. 

Key titles highlighted by Chapman included Graham Swift's Here we Are and Kim Ji-young, Born 1982  by Cho Nam-joo; John Bolton's The Room Where it Happened; S&S's second Trump expose, Mary Trump's Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man; and John Nichol's Lancaster, named as W H Smith's non-fiction book of the year. 

Looking ahead to the next quarter he is also tipping new titles from Bob Woodward, Ian McGuire and Philippa Gregory, as well as in children's Ben Miller, Cassie Clare, Sophy Henn and Nic Stone.

"We're very encouraged," said Chapman. "We've got a lot to do before the end of the year, but we've got the books to do it with."

Results for the UK were not split out, and will be released at the end of the year.