Simon & Schuster


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Shutterstock Premier

You've always been told not to judge a book by its cover, but the art managers at Simon & Schuster welcome the intense scrutiny. The world of publishing can be an inherently risky space, with very few authors finding their way onto the much-anticipated best sellers lists. But having a gripping storyline paired with just the right cover art can catapult a novel to success. Read on to find out how Simon & Schuster benefitted from a partnership with Shutterstock Premier.

The Client

Publishing more than 2,000 titles annually under 35 imprints, Simon & Schuster has been the gold standard in literary publishing since 1924. Illustrious authors Mary Higgins Clark, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walter Isaacson and many more call Simon & Schuster home. While Simon & Schuster is known for their classic library of works, they also keep an eye firmly on the future. In 2014, Simon & Schuster expanded a pilot program to bring all of their titles to public libraries, including eBook formats available internationally.

The Goals

Each individual book at Simon & Schuster is treated like a unique creative project, with individual author preferences and audience profiles taken into account. But selecting just the right cover art can make a world of difference when it comes to the potential success of a new or republished title.

Simon & Schuster needed to find a creative content provider that could help bring life into their backlist of titles. Not only did the images have to be the perfect balance of sharp, elite, and refined, but they also needed to work for both print and smaller eBook budgets.

The Challenge

Seeking licensable imagery that could fulfill publishing needs was a huge undertaking for the Simon & Schuster team. All too often, it would take ages to find that one perfect image, only to discover that it was unavailable for publishing use, appeared on multiple other stock websites, or didn't include high-resolution versions.

Spending time negotiating usage, pricing, and availability of images was simply taking up too much of Simon & Schuster's resources without providing best-sellers the results they deserved. The creative team at Simon & Schuster was on a mission to find a solution that could meet their unique publishing needs and take their cover art to the next level.

The Shutterstock Premier Solution

When Simon & Schuster Art Manager, Pamela Grant, started working with Shutterstock Premier, her team, and their authors took notice of the difference in quality. "Designers would comp covers using images from Shutterstock, along with images from another stock house," Grant said, "and the cover created with the Shutterstock image was always selected."

After testing out Shutterstock on a project-by-project basis, Grant realized she owed it to the Simon & Schuster team to cement the relationship.

"When I noticed designers continued providing me with art credited to Shutterstock, it was time to make the powers-that-be aware of the high-quality art Premier provides," said Grant.

Beyond offering superior image quality and selection, Shutterstock Premier brought a new level of cost-savings across Simon & Schuster's publishing efforts.

Before working with Shutterstock, the process of finding cover art could trail on and on as fine print was evaluated and negotiated. Working with Shutterstock Premier reduced this process to a matter of days.

The Results

A close partnership with Shutterstock Premier brought an entirely new look to Simon & Schuster's published works. On a monthly basis, between 50-75% of Simon & Schuster's published titles contain Shutterstock artwork, ensuring books are released on time and under budget.

Not only has the quality bar been raised substantially for new Simon & Schuster title artwork, but the workflow has also been completely revamped. Before working with Shutterstock, the process of finding cover art could trail on and on as fine print was evaluated and negotiated. Working with Shutterstock Premier reduced this process to a matter of days.

"I was given my assignment, was able to research and download three related images," said Grant. "[An artist] comped the covers, and we routed them to the editor and received approval from the author. The whole process [took] less than four days!"

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