Carolyn Reidy

Ellen Harvey is the associate/digital editor of Book Business and Publishing Executive.

Just as the swifts have returned to UK skies reassuring us that summer is shortly here and that all must still be well with the global eco-system, so the latest terms dispute with Amazon is similarly reassuring in its own way. After all, if there were no dispute with Amazon, wouldn't we be worried?

According to the tech news site Recode - and congratulations to it for breaking the story (how many had heard of the site before, one wonders) - Penguin Random House UK is currently negotiating a new contract with the retailer.

Revenue and profits fell in 2014 at Simon & Schuster, parent company CBS reported. Sales declined 3.8%, to $778 million, while operating profit dropped 5.6%, to $101 million.

The publisher, which saw sales and earnings rise in 2013, closed 2014 on a soft note with sales down 4.4% in the fourth quarter, compared to the final period of 2013, and operating income down 30%.

S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy said 2013 had a number of positive sales surprises--including several Duck Dynasty books and The Great Gatsby--that weren't repeated in 2014.

Simon & Schuster is making a push into paid online video, with a new website offering online courses from popular health, finance and self-help authors.

The cost of the first batch of online courses ranges from $25 to $85, and includes workbooks and access to live question-and-answer sessions with three authors: Dr. David B. Agus, the best-selling author of "The End of Illness"; Zhena Muzyka, who wrote the self-help book "Life by the Cup"; and Tosha Silver, the author of the spiritual advice book "Outrageous Openness."

Simon & Schuster has seen an "especially" productive year in business, with "encouraging" sales seen after joining US and UK subscription platforms.

In an end-of-year letter to staff and authors, Carolyn Reidy, president and c.e.o of Simon & Schuster in the US, said the publisher had had a successful year when it came to "the business of our business", naming the publisher's multi-year agreement with Amazon as one of its highlights.

Reidy said: "We made our backlist e-books available through subscription services in the US and abroad, and the results were immediately encouraging

Simon & Schuster has negotiated a multiyear deal with Amazon for both print and electronic books, the publisher told its writers Monday.

The agreement "is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author's share of income generated from eBook sales," said a letter signed by Carolyn Reidy, the publisher's chief executive. A copy of the letter was obtained by The New York Times.

"With some limited exceptions," the new contract gives control of e-book pricing to Simon & Schuster, the letter said.

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