Simon & Schuster eliminated nine salespeople and leaving just seven reps calling on buyers. ( sort of hard to harvest new sales when you've fired the field hands ).Telemarketing reps based in New York will call on "a core group of more than 400 independent booksellers, distributors and educational wholesalers." That team is expected to be "in place and selling to accounts by February 15.
Twitter lit up today with comments from disgruntal book sellsers.
"I am super bummed about the S&S rep news"; "SO pissed to see my rep go. My one link to you is now someone who has NO idea about my store."; "Wasn't even my rep but would advise me on kid bks... Continues to be most short-sighted thing pubs do."; "This is ridiculous. My rep was let go. Do you hear me, @simonschuster?"; "What is Simon thinking? Don't they know how important sales reps are to us?"; "Our Simon and Schuster sales rep was laid off. We're saddened for her and for the entire indie bookselling industry."
Losing touch with book buyers and readers will not reverse the decline in book sales.
Here in, no particular order, are sales totals for the big 10.
1. Mc-Graw Hill $4,645.5 (in millions) (18.32% market share)
2. Random House (Owned by Bertelsmann) $1,760.8 (6.9% market share)
3. Harcourt General (owned by Reed Elsevier Group) $2,408.2 (9.5%
4. Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck $2,214.4 (8.7% market share)
5. Scholastic $1,962.3 (7.7% market share)
6. Pearson $6,290 (24.8% market share)
7. Houghton Mifflin (owned by Vivendi Universal Publishing) $1,027.6
(4%) ( Remember on Nov 24, 2008, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt told its editors to stop accepting new manuscripts )
8. HarperCollins (owned by News Corp.) $975.5 (2000 figures) (3.8%
9. John Wiley $613.8 (2.4% market share)
10.Simon & Schuster (owned by Viacom) $648.7 (2.6% market share)
If I've done my math correctly ( and there's a chance I haven't ) the combined annual sales of the big 10 is around 22 billion. In 2008 Apple's net worth was $158.66 billion. So with a little creative financing Apple could buy the whole basket. ( Note, if you don't have a relationship with the book stores and the only value you bring to the market is author contracts and 22 billion in sales, your net worth is low. It's not like the publishers own the printing presses. )
Will the last of the big 10 please kill the lights when you exit the building?