Pearson Company

Fifty Shades of Grey publisher Random House posts record profits
March 26, 2013

EL James's Fifty Shades trilogy sold more than 70m copies in 2012, driving Random House to record annual revenues and profits.

The publisher's operating profit leapt 75% year on year to €325m (£275.7m) in 2012. Revenues at the Bertelsmann-owned company, which is awaiting final clearance on a merger with Pearson's Penguin, grew 22.5% year-on-year to €2.1bn.

James' Fifty Shades of Grey and sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed became the book publishing phenomenon of 2012, shifting more than 70m copies between March and December.

Pages of "hardcore adult pornography" have been discovered in a children's book published to raise money for charity following a printing error
March 19, 2013

 Author Adrian Bailey has asked anyone who has bought a hardback copy of his debut novel Otherworld to contact him after discovering that pages of pornography were accidentally printed inside. Mr Bailey, 46, personally paid for the printing of 2,500 hardback copies of his book, with all proceeds going to children's hospice Rebecca House. At the book launch in 2011, 800 copies of Otherworld were bought, and some 3,000 books have been sold since. But it became clear that the books had not been proofread…

How Unbound Concepts crunches readability, or how big data could help improve literacy
March 15, 2013

It’s easy enough to understand why Curious George books are first grade fare and why Camus is often saved for the 12th grade. But what about all the books in between?

For the most part, teachers and literacy experts are the ones charged with considering sentence complexity, word difficulty, themes and other characteristics to judge the readability of text. But by turning over much of that analysis to algorithms, startup Unbound Concepts believes it can not only assess more text with more granularity, it can individualize education for K-12 students and…

Pearson's Penguin Must Participate in E-Book Fixing Trial
February 28, 2013

Pearson Plc (PSON)’s Penguin unit must participate in a June trial in which the U.S. alleges an electronic book price-fixing conspiracy with Apple Inc., a judge ordered.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York yesterday also ordered Penguin to provide its initial witness list by March 1. Penguin has until March 15 to file a motion if it decides not to defend against the lawsuit and to request to hear the testimony of two of its executives at the trial.

The real story behind the Penguin – Random House merger
February 15, 2013

Despite being one of the most important publishing and cultural stories of our lifetime, the news that the Department of Justice had approved the merger of Random House and Penguin yesterday would have been easy to miss. You’d have to do a search to find the New York Times story about it, for example, even though publishing is one of New York’s biggest industries. The Wall Street Journal report was similarly perfunctory, back pages stuff. Even PaidContent, which usually has the most insightful and detailed reportage…

Penguin and Random House merger moves one step closer, as the US Department of Justice gives its approval
February 14, 2013

We’ve known for some time that publishing behemoths Penguin and Random House were to merge, thus creating  a truly colossal book publisher. Well, that deal has been given one more seal of approval, with the US Department Of Justice giving the greenlight to the deal.

Random House’s parent company – German mass media corporation Bertelsmann – and Pearson confirmed the go-ahead earlier today, with the DoJ officially closing its regulatory investigation, with no conditions stipulated.

Inkling Unveils Inkling Habitat, the New Standard for Professional Publishing
February 12, 2013

Inkling, maker of the leading publishing platform for high-quality digital content, today publically released Inkling Habitat, a free, collaborative digital publishing environment designed for professionals. Paired with the recently launched Inkling Content Discovery Platform, which enables unparalleled online discovery for nonfiction book content, Inkling now provides the only end-to-end solution for publishers to build, market, and distribute high quality digital books at scale.

The Revolution Starts Now… Or Does It: Digital vs. Print "either/or" or "both/all"?
February 11, 2013

Steve Earle wrote: “The revolution starts now / when you rise above your fear / And tear the walls around you down / The revolution starts here.”

Thankfully, time has finally brought us companies (big and small) that are re-thinking traditional content distribution business models. They’ve done this based on shifting technologies, shifting culture, sinking economies, new demands, and have begun creating new approaches. There are many out there, I wanted to mention a few examples.

Penguin launches Partridge, a self-publishing platform for India
February 7, 2013

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…


A Publishers Job Is to Provide a Good API for Books
February 1, 2013

If we start to think of “books as data,” then the traditional publisher’s role starts to sound a lot like the role of providing an API: A publisher’s job is to manage how and when and under what circumstances people (readers) or other services (book stores, libraries, other?) access books (data).

We know what this job looks like in the old world of bound paper and bricks and mortar stores, and we’re pretty sure we understand it in a world of EPUB and Kindle.

But as we move into a primarily digital world…