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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...

Penguin Launches New Program: First To Read. It’s Got Issues
June 20, 2013 | 2:45 pm

Like so many attempts by the publishing industry to engage readers, this one doesn't quite get it. According to the press release, First to Read is:  ...a new online book discovery initiative that closely mimics what NetGalley does for book reviewers and publishing professionals but for consumers. The program is aimed at sparking word-of-mouth discussion around a book months before it is available in bookstores. Naturally, I dropped by to create a profile. Because you can sign in with Facebook, and I was feeling lazy, I did so. Apologies to my Facebook friends who just got spammed with several First to Read...

Penguin Turns “The Pocket Scavenger” Into an Interactive Creativity App
May 8, 2013 | 4:44 pm

The Pocket Scavenger Until I opened an email this morning from a publicist at the Penguin Group (USA), who'd sent me a press release about the company's newest so-called "creativity app," The Pocket Scavenger, I was under the impression that I was at least somewhat tuned in to the world of Android apps. But apparently, not so much. Penguin, it seems, has been busy releasing quite an impressive suite of creativity apps lately, and like their latest, The Pocket Scavenger, many are based on the books of author, illustrator and self-described guerrilla artist Keri Smith. Smith writes books that are not only about creativity, but that actually encourage it...

Penguin to Stop Windowing Library Books (Bonus: Cool workaround for Penguin library books)
March 28, 2013 | 12:05 pm

You may have already seen that Penguin is going to stop the windowing of library book titles. That's a good thing, and I applaud the decision. I'd be more excited if my library was part of the 3M system, and if Penguin wasn't having books "expire" and require a repurchase every year, but some library books is better than none, I guess. What's going to be interesting to watch is how the merger of Random and Penguin handle library books. Right now the two companies have completely different policies and pricing, and Random House is in Overdrive, where Penguin isn't. We'll keep...

DOJ Approves Penguin Random House Merger
February 14, 2013 | 3:37 pm

One hurdle down. Several more to go with the EU, Canadian Competition Bureau and various other antitrust authorities around the world still needing to weigh in on this. Penguin's settlement with the Justice Department was a move to smooth the way for this merger, and it looks like that move worked. Note that Random House, not included in the price-fixing case, will be bound by the terms of the Penguin settlement. Who owns how much of what? For those who are keeping score, according to the announcement: Following completion, Bertelsmann will own 53% and Pearson 47% of Penguin Random House. It will encompass...

Penguin launches Partridge, a self-publishing platform for India
February 7, 2013 | 5:01 pm

Andrew Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Penguin Books India In partnership with a Bloomington, Ind.-based self-publishing organization known as Author Solutions, Penguin Books India made an interesting move today by launching a self-publishing platform specifically for the Indian audience. It's a tactic that may one day soon bring the Subcontinent at least somewhat closer to actualizing the self-publishing revolution that seems to have taken over much of the western world. Partridge Publishing is the name of the new platform, and in a release distributed by Penguin Books India today, the company suggested that it will soon be "opening up opportunities for aspiring writers [in India] who don't have enough means to get their...

New Orwell cover designs obscure an Orwellian copyright saga
January 10, 2013 | 2:08 pm

Penguin Books, along with its seriously talented team of graphic designers, is making great play of its latest rebooting of the George Orwell franchise. Coverage from the Huffington Post to the Creative Review lauds Penguin’s brave and high-minded initiative to relaunch Orwell’s works with bold cover designs that recall the original Penguin editions—only, in the case of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with the title erased to signify censorship. Penguin Classics’ own website states: "In recognition of one of Britain’s greatest and most influential writers, Penguin Books, the Orwell Estate and The Orwell Prize are launching the inaugural ‘Orwell Day’ on 21st January with new editions of...

Penguin, Random House Merger Shows E-Books Dominate
October 31, 2012 | 11:00 am

So two of the largest publishers in the world are merging their book arms entirely to deal with "this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers," to quote Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino. Could there be any clearer proof that e-books are where the action is, and that the print-only model is truly over? What price print Luddism now? What does everyone else think?...

Apple, Penguin, Macmillan file responses to antitrust lawsuits
May 30, 2012 | 11:20 pm

A week after its previous filing, concerning the Department of Justice antitrust case and settlement, Apple has made another filing—this one relating to the antitrust/price-fixing class action that 31 states have brought against it. (It was a little confusing; I actually had to look up the two filings and compare them before I figured out what was what.) In this filing, Apple insists that it made separate, not-identical contracts with the publishers, and that apart from generating revenue the iBookstore was also intended to “avoid negative margins that it believed Amazon was incurring as it sold certain bestselling eBooks...