Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

Random House Penguin Merger Completed

Monday, July 1st, 2013


In press releases issued early this morning, the parent companies of Random House and Penguin announced that they have finalized contracts for a merger of the two, creating the largest trade publishing house in the world, named Penguin Random House (interim logo at the left).

The Random House parent company, Bertelsmann, owns 53 percent of the new company and Penguin parent, Pearson, 47 percent. Random House chief executive Markus Dohle becomes CEO of the  new group and Penguin’s CEO John Makinson, the chairman of its board of directors. The CEO of Penguin USA, David Shanks, has stepped down to serve as Senior Executive Advisor to Dohle and the U.S. executive team. Madeline McIntosh, formerly Chief Operating Officer, Random House U.S., becomes the President and Chief Operating Officer of the new U.S. company.

While it is too early to speculate on the composition of the new company’s library marketing teams, it would make sense on the adult side if they combined each group’s expertise in academic and library marketing into two new larger departments. In terms of eBooks libraries will be waiting to hear if the new company follows the Random House or Penguin models.

Press Releases:

Bertelsmann Press Release

Pearson_Press Release

PRH Press Release

Peter Workman Dies

Monday, April 8th, 2013

peter-workman-2-100._V221476672_We are saddened to hear the news that Peter Workman died yesterday. He was the founder and CEO of Workman Publishing, a successful company built on unique, often quirky titles. In addition, he was a vital part of several charities, including the Goddard-Riverside Community Center, an organization that works for social and economic change for the poor in West Harlem and the Upper West side, Prep for Prep, which works with New York City’s students of color to give them better educational opportunities and the UJA.

Peter was known for being very hands-on and as a result, a Workman title is always recognizable. The companies that Workman acquired over the years are also unique and have retained their own identities; Algonquin, Black Dog & Leventhal, Highbridge Audio, Storey Publishing and Timber Press.

In the midst of corporate consolidation in publishing, Workman has remained steadfastly independent. The company will continue to be run by Peter’s wife and business partner, Carolan Workman, their daughter Katie Workman and a small management team of people from within the company.

New Approach to Online Book Recommendations

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

After the publisher-supported site delayed its summer, 2011 launch date  and changed management several times, many in the book business wondered if it would ever arrive. Just as rumors had begun to die down, the site launched last night.

Aimed at consumers, it’s a Johnny-come-lately to online book merchandising. As Ron Charles of the Washington Post notes with tongue-in-cheek, “If you’re one of the countless people wondering, ‘Why isn’t there anywhere to buy books online?’ we’ve got good news: Bookish went live last night.” The press release offers details on what is billed as a “one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors.

The site is sponsored by publishers Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group and Penguin Group, with participation from 16 other publishers.

Users can buy books directly from Bookish, with B&T handling fulfillment. There are also links to online retailers, including ABA’s IndieBound.

The site will include author interviews (a conversation between Michael Koryta and Michael Connelly is currently featured), book excerpts and reviews.

It also aims to provide a “state- of-the-art recommendation tool…from a proprietary algorithm that factors in editorial themes, professional and consumer reviews, publishing house editor insights, awards and more.”

At this point, it’s not working that well. Entering The Power Trip by Jackie Collins brings up the following results. Hemingway might be pleased with the comparison.

Power Trip Recs

A Penguin Wanders Into a Random House

Friday, October 26th, 2012


The above two titles may eventually have more in common than their genre and cover designs.

In a tersely-worded “Statement on media coverage regarding Penguin” yesterday, Pearson set off a round of speculation and gossip in the publishing world:

Pearson notes recent media coverage regarding Penguin, its consumer publishing division, and Random House (part of Bertelsmann). Pearson confirms that it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.

Reports in European news sources, beginning with a story in Germany’s Manager Magazin on Monday, forced Pearson’s response.  When Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, was asked to comment, they simply pointed to the Penguin statement.

Speculation is now rife as to the reasons for proposed merger, with some saying it’s necessary because ebooks have changed the business and others that publishers need to gain enough clout to stand up to Amazon. Those are side issues, however; the major reason is that Pearson is focusing on their education business, and Bertelsmann’s new CEO Thomas Rabe has promised major acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

The New York Times story quotes literary agents saying that the deal will not be good for authors. Says agent David Kuhn, “a shrinking book industry could be compared to the situation in Hollywood, where studios under financial pressure now focus on churning out a handful of blockbusters a year, rather than taking risks on smaller films.”

If the merger were in effect today, seven of the fifteen NYT Fiction best sellers would be published by the new company.

Whatever the speculation, this is far from a done deal. There are still hurdles to jump, like gaining approval from U.S. and U.K. regulatory agencies (although, as many news stories point out, those agencies have allowed the music business to shrink to three major companies). The most meaningful part of Pearson’s statement may be the “if” in the final line.

St. Martins Defends Accusation of Plagiarism

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011


In a statement yesterday, St. Martin’s Press defended The Raven’s Bride by Lenore Hart, which they published in February of this year, from accusations that it plagiarizes passages from Cothburn O’Neal’s 1956 novel, The Very Young Mrs. Poe. They said that any similarities are a result of the fact that both novels are about Edgar Allan Poe’s child bride, Virginia Clemm (via the Associated Press). WorldCat shows that nearly 500 libraries own The Raven’s Bride.

Questions about the two books were raised by British author Jeremy Duns on his blog last month.

Earlier in November, Duns pointed out similarites between Q.R. Markham’s Assassin of Secrets and several other titles, resulting in that book being pulled by Little, Brown a few days after publication. That action was taken before most libraries had received it, so it is available only a few. The New Yorker’s “Book Bench” blog points out that Assassin of Secrets lifts so many passages from other sources that the book is more of a “pastiche or collage, rather than a ‘novel,’ as we properly understand the word” and that Q.R. Markham (the pseudonym for Quentin Rowan), who is a poet and part owner of a bookstore in Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn, may have consciously perpetrated an elaborate hoax. Markham, himself, blames his actions on his need “to conceal my own voice with the armour of someone else’s words.”

There may be one lesson in the earlier case; the attention caused the book’s sales to skyrocket prior to it being recalled.

Penguin Kindle Title Restoration is Temporary

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

After OverDrive’s announcement that Penguin had decided to restore access to older titles for library lending via Kindle, Penguin released a statement that this will only be in effect through the end of the year, unless concerns about unnamed security issues are resolved (see last line)

Penguin USA took the decision yesterday [11/22] to withhold the supply of new digital titles from suppliers to US libraries until concerns about the security of the copyright of its authors have been resolved.

In addition, Penguin informed suppliers to libraries that it expected them to abide by existing agreements to offer older digital titles to libraries only if those files were held behind the firewalls of the suppliers.

Following receipt of this information, Overdrive, a supplier of ebooks to US libraries, removed “Get for Kindle” from its offering.

Penguin has subsequently been informed by Amazon that it had not been consulted by Overdrive about the terms of Penguin’s agreement with Overdrive. Amazon has undertaken to work with Penguin and Overdrive between now and the end of the year to address Penguin’s concerns. Penguin will, as a result, restore the supply of these titles until the end of the year in order to return the availability of older titles to all its digital customers.

Quirk Books Profiled

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Independent publisher Quirk Books, inventors of the mashup genre, are profiled in a story by the Associated Press, “Philly book publisher the BRAAAINS! behind phenom.”

Why publish books like Pride, Prejudice and Zombies?  “It was simply too crazy not to,” says founder David Borgenicht.

The company’s most recent title in the genre is Night of the Living Trekkies, about zombies at a Star Trek convention. More mashups are coming and a  “sci-fi slash political satire” book is being planned for the 2012 presidential election.

Night of the Living Trekkies
Kevin David Anderson, Sam Stall
Retail Price: $14.95
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books – (2010-07-28)
ISBN / EAN: 1594744637 / 9781594744631

Direct from the Publishers Mouth

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

A few posts ago, I mentioned that S&S is doing a publisher preview for their adult imprints. Unfortunately, I got the date wrong — it’s Friday, September 24th  from 9 to 12:30 at the S&S offices in NYC (email Michelle Fadlalla to RSVP or for more information).

Such a deal; you get breakfast, a chance to hear S&S editors talk about the books they are passionate about, and to hear from National Book Award winner Carlos Eire about his new book, Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy (Free Press, Nov. 2, 2010), not to mention the opportunity to mingle with area colleagues.

Also, save the date for the AAP Fall Buzz Event for Tri-State area on Wednesday, October 20th (don’t worry; I double-checked that date!); more details later.

And, if you’re not in the tri-state area, remember that you can get the HarperCollins Buzz — Fall 2010 right on your desktop.

A Friday Distraction

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Check out the warning section about the side effects of reading from this promo for  Unbridled Books:

If you enjoy it, be sure to also check out their books on the Unbridled web site.

Frommer’s Cover Photo Contest

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

This is clever; Frommer’s is running a photo contest. The winner will have his or her photo featured on the cover of a Frommer’s book and will win $5,000 (contest ends 3/31).

How appropriate it would be if a librarian won, given what great travelers we are and how many Frommer’s titles libraries buy.

I’m no photographer, but just looking at the hundreds of photos that have already been entered serves as a mini-vacation.

Library Marketing Works for You

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

There’s a book giveaway hidden in our top banner ad this week; if you click on it, you can enter to win five titles that fit in to YALSA Teen Read Week’s “Beyond Reality” theme. It’s part of Random House’s library marketing department’s “Shelf Help;” collection development “cheat sheets” aimed at helping librarians make sure they own essential titles in popular subject categories.

Many of you are already savvy to publisher’s library marketing departments. If not, you can think of them as your entry-way to publishing houses. They are happy to answer questions from when Nevada Barr’s next book is coming to how to get an author to speak at your One Community program (by the way, Random House has just created a new One Book guide with tips from the mother of all one-book programs, Nancy Pearl).

On EarlyWord, we maintain an up-to-date directory of library contacts for adult books at the various publishing house,s as well as links to their librarian newsletters, blogs, and even, in HarperCollins case, an online radio show for librarians.

Through the AAP, library marketing staff also organize various events for librarians at the BEA, ALA and PLA. This week, they are presenting their first “Librarians’ Spring 2010 Sneak Preview” here in New York.

Get to know these people; they are a key component in the publisher/librarian connection.

Sixty Sterling Years; Sixty Books

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Sterling publishers is celebrating 60 years in the business by offering libraries a chance to win 60 of their books.

Entries must be in by July 24th. For more information, click here.

Library Marketing Director Chris Vaccari demonstrates just how many books that is:


What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Those clever guys at Unshelved may have just topped themselves. For BEA, they’ve put together “Publisher Confidential,” an ebooklet of pet peeves from librarians, booksellers and readers.

Such as:




For more on the project, check the Unshelved blog.

Reminder: if you don’t suffer from the above problem and are actually looking for catalogs, you can get PDF’s of publishers catalogs from our links to the right (under “Download Publishers Catalogs”).

Summer’s a-comin’

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Publishers catalogs for April through August are beginning to arrive. To see the new ones we’ve posted, go to Publishers Catalogs — Spring/Summer ‘09.

Also, you can find current catalogs at the right, under “Download Publishers Catalogs.”

Small Press Garners Big Nomination

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008


  • Paperback:$18.00
  • Publisher: Busted Flush Press, (December 3, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0976715732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976715733

On Friday, the Houston Chronicle profiled a tiny (a one-man house, you can’t get much smaller than that) independent press that has just received its second Edgar nomination for Best Short Story. The goal of Busted Flush (named after Travis McGee’s houseboat in the series by John D. MacDonald) is to bring back out-of-print mysteries and to publish anthologies of mystery short stories.

The nominated story is “Uncle,” by Daniel Woodrell, which appeared in A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir.

In 2007, Bill Crider’s “Cranked,” from the anthology Damn Near Dead was nominated.