Saturday, November 04, 2017

Publishers Lunch

Today's Meal

CBS reported third quarter earnings on Thursday afternoon, with sales at Simon & Schuster nudging up by $2 million to $228 million, with operating income also up $2 million to $46 million. That means that without the incorporation of Adams Media, acquired towards the end of last year, comparable results were down slightly, even with big new releases from Hillary Clinton, Tom Brady, Nelson DeMille and more. But S&S had published Bruce Springsteen and Amy Schumer in the third quarter of 2016, setting a high bar for comparisons. CEO Carolyn Reidy says they "managed to recreate" that same frontlist momentum though adult and children's books "were relatively flat." Rather, "the big upswing was audio, and international." Reidy said their frontlist releases "overperformed internationally," and that performance was bolstered by the new Rupi Kaur book, which this time around S&S is "publishing around the world" outside of the US, where "it took off like a shot."

Reidy expects their sales to remain strong through the holiday season, saying, "We're feeling bullish about the Christmas season." She noted, "We're feeling very positive after what felt like a very lackluster first half of the year industrywide. Now it's really feeling as if you put put some books out there that people want, they're going back into the stores." Reidy said the activity is "not just in online sales; it's pretty much across the board.... It's a great range of titles and range of accounts all sharing in the success."

As for recent reports of a credit squeeze and potential sale offering of Waterstones, Reidy noted, "We're pretty confident [the situation] will solve itself. James Daunt has done a fabulous job in repositioning that store; it's doing very well, and our sales are up with it. I'm hoping that if it goes for sale, there will be someone who will want it because it's in such a positive state at the moment, and it looks positive doing forward.... I don't see it as a distress sale."

Asked if she had heard responses to her Frankfurt remarks on Brexit leading back to an open market for English-language books in continental Europe, Reidy acknowledged, "I heard comments on both sides" of the issue. That included "some agents reach out who had agreed that this should become part of the competitive market." She reiterated her basic position that, "We've shared that market since it was established as open market, until the Brits decided to say they need it exclusively. There's nothing wrong with competition in that market; it serves the authors well."

KF Literary Scouting has been appointed scout for Tchelet in Israel and Eksmo in Russia.

The winners of the Kirkus Prize were announced Thursday night at a ceremony in Austin, TX. Lesley Nneka Arimah's
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky (Riverhead) won for fiction, and Jack E. Davis's The Gulf (Liveright) took the nonfiction category. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (DCB) won in Young Readers' Literature.

Best Of

The renamed New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books Awards announced its ten best books of the year:

Muddy, written by Michael Mahin, illustrated by Evan Turk
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra
On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna
Plume, written and illustrated by Isabelle Simler
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, written by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
The Way Home in the Night, written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi
Town Is By the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith
A River, written and illustrated by Marc Martin
King of the Sky, written by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin
Feather, written and illustrated by Remi Courgeon

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