Until the transaction is closed (likely late 2013 pending regulatory approval), official news about the Random House Penguin venture is expected to be scarce. And yet questions abound. Why did two of the biggest players in book publishing throw in their lot together? Will further contraction occur in its wake? Will this give the new entity more leverage in its negotiations with mighty Amazon? And if so, will it be enough to matter? We rang up four industry experts and asked them what—if anything—it all means for publishers and publishing.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and O, The Oprah Magazine announce the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (Knopf). In her extraordinary debut, Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one indomitable heroine (Hattie) and her unforgettable family. The novel has earned starred pre-publication reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist. “The opening pages of Ayana’s debut took my breath away,” said Winfrey, OWN CEO, “I can’t remember when I read anything that moved me in quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison.”
We're excited to announce the publication of our annual year-end business tips issue, "The Road Forward: 95 Ways to Get Ahead in the Year to Come."
The issue is available on the Book Business website, as well as in a searchable digital edition. Jam-packed with 95 ideas you can implement now to move your business forward in 2013. You'll find great ideas for:
There's a great piece by the Scholarly Kitchen's Joseph Esposito this week that asks, in response to the latest corporate megamerger between Penguin and Random house, "Why did publishers get so big?" His breakdown of the larger forces that led to larger publishers is exquisite. —Brian Howard
"For many people the rationale for bigness is all-too-evident: greed. But while greed can be a strong motivator, it is not a strategy. To put this another way, why does greed always reach for bigness? What is it about bigness that makes it economically irresistible?"
Pearson, the British media conglomerate, said Thursday that it was in talks to combine its Penguin publishing house with Random House, owned by Bertelsmann of Germany.
The deal, if completed, would bring together two of the biggest book publishers in the world, uniting Penguin and its iconic orange logo with the owner of Crown Publishing and Knopf Doubleday. The combination would create a division with greater scale that could compete in a rapidly evolving e-book market.
As I was writing this on the very cusp of Labor Day Weekend, my South Philadelphia neighbors were preparing for something very special: The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, will be playing two shows at Citizens Bank Park over the holiday weekend. The Asbury Park legend is an adopted favorite son (plus it'll be about the only interesting thing happening in the ballpark this summer).
When Seth Godin speaks, people sit up and listen, even if they’re the CEO of one of the Big 6 publishers. He raised eyebrows with his decision to leave the traditional book publishing industry in order to form his own entity called The Domino Project. But when he made the decision to move on after 12 bestsellers, tongues wagged. Had his precious experiment failed or, knowing Godin, was something greater in store?
World Book Night U.S. has announced the selection of its honorary national chairperson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Anna Quindlen, and revealed the WBN 2012 U.S. book picks. In addition, World Book Night U.S. has opened the registration process for those wishing to become volunteer book givers.
Even as more readers switch to the convenience of e-books, publishers are giving old-fashioned print books a makeover. Publishers are putting more thought into books' aesthetics. Many new releases have design elements usually reserved for special occasions deckle edges, colored endpapers, high-quality paper and exquisite jackets that push the creative boundaries of bookmaking. If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading. When people do beautiful books, theyre noticed more, said Robert S. Miller, the publisher of Workman Publishing. Its like
Happy Thanksgiving, Book Business readers!
May we recommend you check out (but don't gore yourself on)the year's 100 notable tomes in fiction, poetry and nonfiction as selected by the New York Times between drumsticks, football games and "quality time" with extended family. Remember, it's about portion control, people.