If you're not on commission or the bonus track at Bertelsmann's toddling Penguin Random House megapublisher, there'll be a nice tip for you come April 17: An extra $750 in your paycheck, compliments of CEO Markus Dohle. "We are all proud of the positive impact inherent in what we do at Penguin Random House by publishing the best books and connecting them to readers," Dohle wrote in a memo to staff released Tuesday morning along with Bertelsmann's 2014 earnings. "This is our moment."
The Financial Times has aired an exclusive interview with Thomas Rabe, CEO of Bertelsmann – Europe’s biggest media group, and one of its largest family-owned privately held businesses. Oh, and part owner alongside Pearson of Penguin Random House. The Bertelsmann CEO admits that his charge may not only be disadvantaged compared to the likes of […]
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.
The recently announced merger of Penguin and Random House, which is owned by Bertelsmann in Germany, sent shock waves throughout Western publishing circles. This new leviathan will publish a quarter of all books appearing in English, with annual sales of close to $4 billion, yet it is being treated by The New York Times and other media as a routine and perhaps even beneficial development.
Bertelsmann, the corporate parent of Random House, has purchased a 100 percent stake Random House Mondadori. Random House created the publishing house for Spain and Latin America in 2001, splitting the shares 50/50 with the Spanish publisher.
Spanish antitrust authorities still need to approve the acquisition, and the name will be changed “in the near future.”
The Oct. 29 merger of book behemoths Random House and Penguin not only creates the world’s largest publisher, home to authors as diverse as Fifty Shades of Grey’s E L James and mystery writer Patricia Cornwell, it also will present a formidable challenge to the growing power of such digital distributors as Amazon and Apple. And some already are worrying that the consolidation will decrease opportunities for authors and drive down advances.