Sales Keep Rising for Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins

wo of the Big Six publishing houses reported a rise in sales in their earnings
wo of the Big Six publishing houses reported a rise in sales in their earnings

Two of the Big Six publishing houses reported a rise in sales in their earnings issued this week, further evidence that the worst of the doldrums affecting the industry during the recession may be coming to an end. While Simon & Schuster (CBS) also saw increased profit, HarperCollins (NWS) couldn't quite get out of the red.

Simon & Schuster's Gain

Simon & Schuster posted its largest quarterly gain since October 2008, though the increase for its second quarter, the three months ended June 30, was rather small. Sales were $189.7 million, up 4.5% from a year earlier, while adjusted OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) rose 65% to $16.9 million, compared to $10.3 million last year. Adjusted operating income also rose to $15.2 million.

The company cited "growth in digital content sales and the strength of best-selling titles in the second quarter of 2010, including Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush and Women Food and God by Geneen Roth."

CEO Carolyn Reidy told Publishers Weekly
that she was more optimistic about the fall season than she was three months ago, with new titles coming from George W. Bush, Glenn Beck and Rhonda Byrne. As for digital sales, Reidy said they made up about 8% of adult sales and could rise to 10% by the end of 2010.

HarperCollins's Loss

For HarperCollins's fourth quarter ended June 30, sales were $302 million, up over 8% from $278 million a year earlier and the third-straight quarter of sales increases. The company did report an operating loss of $1 million, the same amount reported 12 months ago, and it would have turned a slight profit but for $3 million in depreciation and amortization charges. For the full fiscal year, sales were $1.269 billion, an 11% jump from this time last year, and an operating income of $88 million, significantly increased over just $17 million a year earlier.

"We were pleased with our fiscal year earnings, as they exceeded our expectations in a challenging marketplace that is in transition," said CEO Brian Murray In a statement to industry newsletter Publishers Lunch. "All divisions delivered improvements over the prior year, with general books and children's far exceeding expectations."

Murray also reported that e-book sales were up 250% compared to last year, and that they expect further explosive growth "as the installed base of e-readers grows, distribution increases worldwide, and new distributors enter the e-book market."