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Critical Showrooms Restored: B&N, S&S Finally Come to Terms

Simon & Schuster and Barnes and Noble have ended their long dispute, opening the way for the publishers’ authors to have their books sold vigorously in the chain’s stores during the coming fall and holiday seasons.

In a joint statement Monday, the two companies gave no details, saying only that they had “resolved their outstanding business issues” and that both parties “look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”

S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy, sent an email to authors and agents thanking them for their support “during this most difficult period,” the New York Times reports.

“I and my colleagues have felt keenly the effect this trade dispute has had on books published during this time and have tried nevertheless to achieve the best possible distribution and marketing for your books, which we know are the product of many years of effort,” Ms. Reidy said.

The announcement comes during a tumultuous time for B&N. This morning, Leonard Riggio said he has suspended his efforts to make an offer for the company’s retail business, Reuters reports. (We’ll have more on this and B&N’s latest financial results in a separate post).

The disagreement over terms, the details of which have remained vague, dragged on for months. During that time, Reidy downplayed the effect on S&S sales, saying the publisher had been able to offset the loss of business at B&N with stepped up marketing at other channels and rising ebook sales.

But the standoff resulted in lost sales to authors whose books were stocked sparsely or not at all at the chain and who were forced to cancel promotional visits to B&N stores. Many, many authors were deprived of their most important brick-and-mortar showrooms while their new books were in their most critical sales periods, inflicting untold damage to the books’ sales and to the authors’ careers. It’s good to have this behind us at last.