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Penguin

Penguin Random House UK launches online recommendation, retail platform
April 8, 2014 | 11:25 am

logobigPenguin Random House UK introduced a new platform for readers in what looks like an attempt to shift the retail marketplace. My Independent Bookstore launched on Monday for private beta testing and is available by invite-only right now. The platform will allow users to display 12 books in a virtual bookshop. They can share, review and recommend books while My Independent Bookstore will be integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The difference between this platform and others is that Penguin Random House UK is supporting independent bookstores with this measure. People can buy books through the virtual shops through hive.co.uk, the ecommerce...

Beware Author Solutions, and never ever pay for publishing
March 9, 2014 | 1:11 pm

Author SolutionsIf this isn’t Rule One of self-publishing, it should be: You should never, ever, ever pay someone to publish your work for you. Full stop. End of sentence. Now, it’s fine to pay for useful services, of course. If you can afford it, it could be a good investment to pay someone to edit your work, or to design your cover art, or even to format your book for you if you don’t feel confident of your own skills in that regard. (Though I’d honestly recommend paying $40 for Scrivener and spending a few days learning...

You can kill a paperback, but long live the ebook
February 19, 2014 | 2:18 pm

After years in court, Penguin Books decided to stop fighting and withdraw Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History from India. The book was challenged by a Hindu group who claimed in its lawsuit the book “denigrated Hindus and show[s] their religion in poor light." According to the New York Times, “Penguin’s decision settled a case involving Section 295a of the Indian penal code, which outlaws acts “intended to outrage religious feelings.”” It’s disappointing to see books challenged for their thoughts. Obviously, not everyone is going to like or even appreciate books, but the idea that people are allowed to share their opinions...

Bob Kohn files appeal of publisher anti-trust settlements
December 23, 2013 | 6:10 pm

Ah, the schadenfreude continues. Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that Bob Kohn has filed his appeal of the approval of the Macmillan and Penguin e-book settlements. In the hearing a couple of weeks ago, Judge Cote suggested it was unlikely he would be found to have standing to appeal the case, since he’s not a direct party to the case. However, Kohn is clearly going to keep filing appeals until the appeals courts turn him down. Kohn’s stance is that the price-fixing conspiracy entered into by the publishers and Apple was not actually illegal, since it served to...

Penguin partners with Readmill for an alternative UK reading app
November 29, 2013 | 6:45 pm

penguinGerman ebook app developer Readmill has announced a partnership with Penguin UK to produce an ereading option that seems to want to sidestep Amazon and other ebook distributors and go direct to the consumer from the Penguin UK website. "Now when you purchase ebooks from Penguin UK, you can send them instantly to your Readmill library. We’re honored to provide a beautiful mobile reading experience for some of the world’s most well-loved books," reads the Readmill blurb. "Look for the Send to Readmill button the next time you purchase an ebook at penguin.co.uk." According to coverage in The Guardian, the deal applies...

UK’s Waterstones tweets “first ever paperback books” — well, not quite
August 1, 2013 | 10:28 am

Leading UK retail book chain Waterstones has proudly tweeted a picture of early Penguins via its official Twitter account, declaring: "On this day, 1935. The first ever paperback books, from @PenguinUKBooks, were published." Only, were they? As you might expect of such an obvious and sensible idea, Allen Lane's line of Penguin Books, launched in England in 1935, were not the first paper-covered mass-market publications. In fact, they date back more than 150 years, to the days of "yellowback" publications, introduced in the 1850s to provide cheap literature to the railway-going public. Venerable publishing houses like Routledge & Sons and Ward...

Penguin gets cover nostalgia half right with le Carré reissue
July 30, 2013 | 12:10 pm

As I've argued elsewhere, Penguin and other major publishing houses could be tackling the challenges of the e-book and self-publishing revolutions by asserting their own distinct creative track record—not least in classic cover designs. Never one to miss a trick, Penguin is clearly doing just that, and now, for the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Cold War classic "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" by John le Carré, is reissuing the book in a hardback facsimile of its original 1963 Victor Gollancz first edition. Now there's something that you can't fit on a Kindle. Except ... Penguin...

Penguin Cries Uncle for the EU
July 27, 2013 | 1:10 pm

PenguinFresh from covering itself with ignominy through Author Solutions, Penguin has promised it will play nice in Europe over pricing, with an offer to the European Union to end the price-fixing practices highlighted by the recent Apple anti-trust case in the US, which the European Commission deemed acceptable last week. "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple AAPL +0.57% and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," announced Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission vice president in charge of competition policy. All the other publishers under investigation, Hachette Livre...

Penguin Random House email turns on the schmaltz for agents
July 2, 2013 | 11:47 am

Penguin Random House A kindly correspondent shared with me an email signed by Markus Dohle, CEO of the newly-merged Penguin Random House, that has been circulated to the new mega-publisher's agents—in the same spirit as Bertelsmann's welcoming website banner pictured above. Here is the full text for your edification: To Our Literary Agents, Today, I am proud to write to you from the officially united Penguin Random House. Over the past few months, we have been working through the many financial, legal, and logistical arrangements necessary for the merger to become a reality. But despite the tasks already accomplished, we are really still just at the starting...

Penguin Random House publishing merger: All your books are belong to us
July 1, 2013 | 1:01 pm

Penguin Random HouseThe Big Six today officially became the Big Five, with the formal announcement that UK publishing giant Pearson PLC and German media conglomerate Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA have completed the JV merger of Penguin and Random House, to create ... wait for it ... Penguin Random House. The Pearson release declares that this: "will be the first truly global publishing company with operations in the US, Canada, UK, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Chile." According to the Bertelsmann release, "Penguin Random House will employ more than 10,000 people worldwide across almost 250 imprints, and...

Using Penguin’s First to Read program
June 27, 2013 | 1:30 pm

Penguin Books announced last week First to Read, a program that allows people a chance to read books before they’re released. Sometimes you get the whole book, but other times you only get an excerpt. I signed up when I heard about the program and requested copies of two books. I only got one of them, “A Tap on the Window” by Linwood Barclay, described as a thriller. First to Read asks you to review the books after reading, and to share them on social media. Essentially, it helps create a buzz for the books before they come out. “A Tap on...

Penguin wants Author Solutions lawsuit dismissed
June 25, 2013 | 11:55 am

Author Solutions, Penguin’s self-publishing imprint, has been a bit controversial for a while. Last year an anonymous poster claiming to be an AS employee had some pretty damning things to say about the company’s business practices. Last July, Penguin bought the self-publishing firm, shocking some industry onlookers: What does Author Solutions bring to the table? Well, for starters, around $100m in annual revenue. Roughly two-thirds of that money comes from the sale of services to writers, and only one-third from the royalties generated by the sale of their books. Pause for a moment...