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Random House

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...

Humble Bundle about to launch third e-book bundle
March 18, 2014 | 12:10 pm

The launch of the new Humble Bundle is still just under two hours away (until then, you have one last chance to snag some terrific Android games, nine of them for under $4—Zombie Gunship is some crazy fun!) but Publishers Weekly has just revealed what the new one is going to be. It’s going to be Humble’s first e-books and audiobooks bundle. It’s not entirely clear from the PW article which books will have audiobooks and which will just be e-books, but it’s going to include some great titles: the audiobook of Homeland by Cory Doctorow, financed by Doctorow...

Court finds in favor of HarperCollins over ‘Julie of the Wolves’ backlist e-book rights
March 18, 2014 | 11:47 am

We covered the HarperCollins vs. Open Road case a few months ago, over e-book editions of the late Jean C. George’s novel Julie of the Wolves. George signed a contract with Open Road to publish the e-book editions, arguing that there was no way her original 1971 contract with HC could cover e-books because they hadn’t even been invented yet. However, Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reports that the district judge in the case has ruled in HarperCollins’s favor, finding HC’s interpretation of the contractual language convincing. The case came about when George wanted to publish an e-book edition...

David Gaughran comments on Random House Writers’ Academy
January 16, 2014 | 2:48 pm

David GaughranI contacted self-publishing savant David Gaughran for his opinion on the recent developments at Random House Writers' Academy, and its current "Creative Writing for Beginners" course, which aims to equip aspiring writers with the basic tools to begin realizing their vision - for £499 ($821). This was his response, and is published here with his agreement: I'm pretty dismayed by this development. It sounds pricey for an online course, but the real worry is the complete disregard Random House seems to have for conflict-of-interest issues. It's bad enough that Penguin Random House already owns the biggest vanity press in the world without starting...

Penguin Random House CEO letter thumps tub for the troops
August 30, 2013 | 9:34 am

In a letter from Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, made available by Britain's The Bookseller, sent to staff in conjunction with co-parent Bertelsmann's record first-half 2013 results, the head of the newly merged publishing behemoth hymns the cultural and social contribution that his new group makes. "We are united by a greater purpose: the societal impact we as a team make every day by putting the very best books in the hands of readers around the world," he says in the letter, as quoted by The Bookseller. "Our financial achievements are a reflection of the excellence you bring...

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...

Random House’s Hydra changes contract terms
March 12, 2013 | 9:34 pm

Many publishing insiders and authors have been discussing Random House over the past week. The company might wish it had stayed out of the news as criticisms came down over its digital imprints, especially Hydra, which handles science fiction. In case you missed the news, here’s the basic version: Contract specifications for Hydra were made public, and many realized the terms were not ideal for authors. The digital imprints offered a publishing package with no advance, and with net proceeds that would be split 50/50. In addition, the author would have to pay a one-time fee for set-up costs such as...

Two David and Goliath stories with happy endings
March 12, 2013 | 6:09 pm

David and GoliathTeleRead has earlier covered two stories about some bad publishing experiments: The first was about the scammy contracts Random House was offering authors who signed with their digital-only imprint. The second was about a Canadian newspaper, the National Post, which was trying to extract 'licensing' payments from readers who were trying to quote from their stories in a legal way under fair use rules. In both these stories, I pointed out that neither business was being illegal, per se—but that they were being fishy, and would learn their lesson if people raised a loud enough hue and cry. Well, it's happened! I...

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, 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?...

Libraries Do Not ‘Own’ Random House E-Books After All
October 25, 2012 | 12:20 am

Last week we carried a story about a claim that Random House was going to let libraries “own” its e-books. However, it turns out that “own” may have been an optimistic oversimplification. Peter Brantley, Director of the Bookserver Project at the Internet Archive, writes at Publishers Weekly that he's had some follow-up discussion with Skip Dye, Random House’s VP of Library and Academic Sales, to get clarification on exactly what “own” meant in that context. (Found via TechDirt.) What Random House actually meant was that it would assist libraries in moving e-books from one “authorized library wholesaler” to another. The publisher...