Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

The Author as a Publisher

Monday, February 6th, 2017

9781501144417_572a6Jason Rekulak is in the news for his novel The Impossible Fortress (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio), an Indie Next pick and one of Entertainment Weekly‘s “23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017,” inviting readers to “Revel in 1987 nostalgia in this debut about a teen boy, a coveted copy of Playboy and a computer-nerd girl.”

However, it is not exactly a debut, as the NYT points out in a profile. Rekulak, the publisher of Quirk Books has written several other books, but rarely puts his real name on their covers. Moreover, he gives away some of his best ideas to others, as he did with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, hiring a then unknown Seth Grahame-Smith for the actual writing, “for a $5,000 advance.” The book has sold over 1.8 million copies.

“I get credited with creating the mash-up, but it was Jason’s idea,” Grahame-Smith told the paper. “It was at once the best and dumbest idea I’ve ever heard in my life, and it came from Jason’s brain.”

Rekulak is also the force behind Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör and “has nurtured fledgling writers who turned into breakout stars, including Ben H. Winters [Underground Airlines] and Ransom Riggs.”

The profile offers more details about the life of an independent publisher, including that he keeps a file of ideas that might be worth doing, labeled “unicorns.”

Meet PRH Library Marketing

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Following the 2013 merger of  publishers Random House and Penguin, CEO Markus Dohle said that the restructuring of various department within the new company would evolve slowly and indeed it has. The most recent move is the joining of the Penguin and Random House Adult Library Marketing departments.

Formerly, each department handled both library and academic marketing. Reflecting the continuing increase in sales in both areas, each will now have a dedicated department

08e09b4  skip_dye_020315

Library marketing is being consolidated under Jen Childs, formerly Director, Library Marketing, Random House, newly named VP, Library Marketing, Penguin Random House Adult. She reports to Skip Dye, Vice President, Library Sales.

Continuing to report to Dye are he Library Field Sales and Marketing Group which represents BOT audio, Living Language, as well as all PRH titles to libraries, and their manager, Sharon Parker.

Dye in turn continues to report to Jaci Updike, President, Sales, Penguin Random House. In the memo to staff announcing the change, she placed emphasis on digital publishing, saying, Dye’s “keen understanding of the digital landscape in both public and school libraries, make him a go-to problem-solver. Skip is also a motivating leader with insightful perspectives on how to increase our digital library sales, together with our physical titles, in this marketplace.” She further promised, “We will be ramping up our already extensive outreach efforts to libraries nationwide with our innovative marketing programs, as we align our two adult library marketing departments under one leader.”

Continuing in the department are:

Elizabeth Fabian, Associate Director, Library Marketing, Random House Group
Erica Melnichok, Manager, Library Marketing, Crown Group
Kelly Coyle-Crivelli, Manager, Library Marketing, Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS)

Moving over to the new PRH Library Marketing department are former Penguin Library Marketing staff members Dominique R. Jenkins Manager, Penguin Library Marketing, and Maureen Meekins, Coordinator, Penguin Library Marketing.


Alan Walker, formerly Vice President, Penguin Academic
and Library Sales & Marketing (pictured, left, in faux mug shots) will now focus on the academic market. Alan worked with us at EarlyWord to develop the Penguin Debut Author program, now in its third year.

Michael Gentile is the new V.P., Director, Academic Marketing, Random House, Crown, and Penguin Random House Publisher Services.

3edcdfe-2The Random House Library Marketing department was begun by Marcia Purcell 20 years ago, when she was lured away from New York Public Library after nearly 24 years as coordinator of adult services for branch libraries, including collection development. She retired in 2012 and is now a Library Outreach Consultant.

Meanwhile, Penguin and Random House Children’s Library Marketing teams remain as two separate departments.

Contact information for all publishers’ library marketing departments is available in our directories:

Library Marketing — Adult

Library Marketing — Childrens

Welcome Annie Mazes to Workman

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Annie–MazesJoin us in welcoming Annie Mazes in her first day on the job as Adult Library Marketing Manager for Workman Publishing.

Many of you have come to know Annie in her five years working with Virginia Stanley at HarperCollins’ Library Marketing and have learned to rely on her knowledge and enthusiasm for both books and libraries. She is in fact a librarian herself with an MLS from Queens College.

Annie has shown her willingness to throw decorum aside to promote books. We’ve never seen anyone make a plastic spoon seem as threatening as she did in the following promo for HarperCollins Buzz session at ALA Annual (Annie’s on the left, with Virginia in the middle and Amanda Rountree on the right).

This is just one of the major life changes Annie will be making this fall. In October, she is getting married.

Annie takes over from Michael Rockliff, who has retired and recently sent a message to his library contacts, also welcoming Annie,
“I leave Workman, confident that they (and you) are in the best possible hands” You can keep in touch with Michael on Facebook.

Many of you also know Trevor Ingerson who worked with Michael at Workman and will now be heading up library marketing for their juvenile and YA titles. He has his own personal connection to the library world. He is also getting married, in just a few days, to librarian Stephanie Anderson (Darien Public Library, CT).

Contact information for both is below (our full listing of library marketing contacts is in the links at the right, under Publisher Contacts):

Annie Mazes: 212-614-7572;

Trevor Ingerson: 212-614-5604;

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.