People in book publishing are accustomed to getting free books, but that particular perk doesn’t make sense as a way to gin up excitement and generate publicity when the book in question’s target readership is people in book publishing. So in order to sell Hothouse, Boris Kachka’s history of Farrar, Straus & Giroux (which we reviewed in this week’s paper), publisher Simon & Schuster has tried a novel approach: a well-produced mailer announcing that there will be no free copies.
“Don’t even think about asking us for a free copy,” proclaims a glossy brochure that went out earlier this week. “Seriously. Don’t even think about it,” warns the back cover.
Penguin and Random House have officially merged and are now Penguin Random House. The merger, which was first announced last fall after a swirl of rumors, has taken eight months to finalize and means that the combined publishing house now controls over a quarter of the US and UK market. The new publishing mega company, which is projecting annual revenues of $3.9 billion, will employ more than 10,000 people worldwide across almost 250 imprints.
“Over the past few months, we have been working through the many financial, legal, and logistical arrangements necessary for the merger to become a reality. But despite the tasks already accomplished, we are really still just at the starting line when it comes to building our new company,” Markus Dohle, the CEO of Penguin Random House, wrote in an email to literary agents. “The process of creating a unified Penguin Random House platform of systems and operations will be gradual, providing plenty of time for us to learn and evaluate from all sides of our company the best ways to bring together our programs, resources, skills, talents, and ideas in order to best serve authors, booksellers, readers, and all of our marketplace partners.”