S&S' Reidy: Digital could 'reshape international business'

S&S' Reidy: Digital could 'reshape international business'

E-books are expected to account for 17% of Simon & Schuster's total revenue in 2011, double that of 2010, according to Simon & Schuster president and c.e.o. Carolyn Reidy.

In a Christmas letter to staff, Reidy reiterated that she is "particularly excited about the potential for digital publishing to reshape our international business". She said: "The transition to digital reading is happening rapidly . . . Given the explosive sales of tablets and dedicated reading devices, and consumers' increasing comfort with buying and reading e-books, in 2012 sales of digital content will undoubtedly experience a similar growth."

Digital publishing will enable the publisher to "grow the audience for our authors in the far corners of the globe in markets that are currently underserved by physical book distribution," Reidy said. She described the international e-book marketplace as "just now taking off as retailers introduce reading devices and bring dedicated e-book sites online in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom and in open market territories such as Germany, France and Brazil", adding: "the initial response from consumers in these markets has been enthusiastic".

More broadly, in 2011 "Simon & Schuster UK and Simon & Schuster Australia both outperformed their competitors, showing excellent growth in markets experiencing significant downturns. Simon & Schuster India opened for business in July and is already exceeding our initial expectations: we can anticipate that in the coming years this fast-growing and important English language market will become a significant outlet for our US and UK titles."

New York-based Reidy said 2011 was ending on a "much higher note", following a year spent "constantly adjusting to changing reality", including Borders' bankruptcy.  

She said the publisher is "poised to deliver excellent financial results including significant growth in profits over our 2010 levels", due to the company focusing on achieving "the maximum possible distribution for each of our authors' titles" and on capitalising on the "new opportunities of digital publishing".

Reidy added that publishing houses such as S&S need to "make the publishing experience . . . the best it can be" as options for authors grow in the self-publishing world.

She pointed to books including Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs, Don Delillo's The Angel Esmeralda and Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies as particular successes for the company's US publishing programme.

Meanwhile, S&S UK m.d. Ian Chapman added: "It's been a challenging year . . . [but] I'm extremely pleased with how this year has gone. The first three-quarters were fantastic, it's been very hard the last three months, obviously with the retail trade going through challenging times. We've got a very exciting line-up for next year."  He highlighted key books for 2012 as including The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker and historical fiction author Philippa Gregory's first YA novel.