Simon and Schuster Cuts Multi-Year Deal With Amazon

Simon and Schuster Agreement with Amazon_peoplewhowrite

What does Simon and Schuster’s deal with Amazon mean for the e-tailer’s dispute over ebook pricing with Hachette?

The New York Times says: “Amazon told Hachette it wanted e-books to be cheaper while also reportedly seeking a greater share of the revenue from each sale. The negotiations were widely viewed by traditional publishers as an attempt to establish a new benchmark that would increasingly diminish their roles.

Perhaps Hachette’s refusal to commit helped inspire Amazon to make an agreement with Simon & Schuster. If so, a deal might inspire a settlement with Hachette. A Hachette spokeswoman declined to comment.”

Hugh Howey asserts: “There’s another advantage to this deal for Simon & Schuster. Pressure for higher ebook prices comes from print retailers, who don’t want to be undercut. Publishers aren’t stupid; they know they can sell more ebooks at a lower price and make money doing so, but they worry about harming existing partnerships. S&S can now price some ebooks high, knowing that Amazon has room to discount, and they can go to the buyers at their major accounts with the digital list price to show their support. That is, the blame for the eventual lower sale price will fall on Amazon, which brick and mortar outlets already loathe, and S&S gets to look like a champion. Meanwhile, they are giving up a percentage of margin to help Amazon discount. Everyone wins. Especially the customer.”

The Wall Street Journal reports: “Douglas Preston, a Hachette author who heads Authors United, a group of more than 1,500 writers that has publicly pressured Amazon to reach a deal with Hachette, said he wants to know whether Amazon has offered Hachette the same terms as Simon & Schuster.”

CNN.com probes: “Could both sides have really come away feeling good about the result? Maybe so — it could be a compromise in the best sense of the word. But it won’t quiet the complaints about Amazon’s behavior, most recently from The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a Monday op-ed.

‘By putting the squeeze on publishers, Amazon is ultimately hurting authors and readers,’ Krugman wrote. He concluded that ‘what matters is whether it has too much power, and is abusing that power. Well, it does, and it is.'”

Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble Mend Fences

Simon and Schuster Announces Truce with Barnes and Noble_peoplewhowrite

Eight months after Barnes and Noble reduced orders of Simon and Schuster titles because the bookseller felt the publisher was not supporting their bookstores, a truce has been called. In an email sent August 19th to Simon and Schuster authors and their agents, CEO Carolyn Reidy announced that the two entities “have resolved their outstanding business issues.”

She added, “While my greatest preference would be that the events of recent months had not happened, we are all pleased that once again we can focus entirely on…bringing your books to readers everywhere.”

Simon & Schuster Focused on Book Retailers in 2013

S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy - peoplewhowrite

S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy

Sharing Simon and Schuster’s 2012 fourth quarter results, CEO Carolyn Reidy said the publisher was focused on throwing more weight behind physical retailers. “The shift in the retail environment is a worry,” Reidy reportedly said. “We need retailers for book discovery.” This comes on the heels of alleged tension between the publisher and Barnes and Noble. Publishers Weekly reported the 140-year-old bookseller has reduced its S&S orders allegedly because it feels the publisher is not adequately supporting them.

Simon & Schuster CEO Reminds Staff It's About the Authors

Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy

S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy

In a letter summing up the year to staff, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy wrote: “Last year I emphasized the importance of doing everything within our power to make the publishing experience for Simon & Schuster authors the best that it can be. That call to action is no less urgent today.” Read more on the letter on Publishers Weekly.