Publishing houses Penguin and Random House will combine forces and become Penguin Random House, Penguin announced this morning. The move comes after rumors of merger talks between Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, and Random House’s parent company, Bertlesmann, leaked last week. Pearson then acknowledged that there were ongoing discussions about merging the two publishing houses.
People in the book industry spent the ensuing days speculating about (among other things) whether a combined publishing company would be called “Random Penguin” or “Penguin House.” The combined company will be called “Penguin Random House.”
Algonquin Round Table
Two of the largest publishing houses could merge. Random House’s parent company Bertelsmann and Penguin’s parent company Pearson have been discussing combing their publishing houses, reports the Financial Times.
The talks, which could still fall apart, have focused on a merger that would give Bertlesmann more than a 50 percent stake in the mega-publishing Read More
“This hotel is exactly how I would have imagined the Algonquin transforming itself in the 21st century,” announced Penguin Books CEO David Shanks to an attentive crowd last week.
A single person clapped and, realizing they were all alone, stopped.
Mr. Shanks continued, “It exudes the grandeur of Gotham and the dazzle of the iconic Mad Men design gone modern.” Mr. Shanks cleared his throat. “It’s really amazing.”
Last Monday, a group (of “top hotel and publishing executives as well as media industry influencers,” per a press release) was gathered at a private party to celebrate the grand reopening of the gut-renovated hotel and the launch of its new partnership with Penguin Books.
Yesterday Gawker, Galley Cat and other sites reported that Ryan Holiday, the marketing strategist, got a major book deal for a tell-all about his clients, including American Apparel founder Dov Charney and writer and professional bigot Tucker Max. Called Confessions of a Media Hit Man, the book sold to Penguin’s business imprint, Portfolio. “Major” usually implies it sold for at least $500,000. Well, we will save Mr. Holiday from confessing one aspect of his strategy. A book editor sent us a copy of Mr. Holiday’s proposal, which contains the following tactical outline:
The Press Release
The press release announcing the sale of this book is the perfect opportunity to create a compelling yet fake spectacle about the book. Relying on the fact that blogs and media outlets simply take for granted whatever is stated in a release, we will state in the press release that the advance given for this book was a spectacular sum. Blogs covering publishing and media will instantly pick up on the fact that a first time author was paid such an exorbitant amount. Combined with Ryan’s experience working with bestselling authors, this will immediately put the book on the radar of the media elites. That the information is all fake and part of a social experiment will be revealed later in the book itself—as evidence of the gullibility of the web and proof of concept.
We usually don’t watch book trailers but this one is kind of like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and also stars Riverhead publisher Geoff Kloske! It also has the actor Timothy Hutton and the author Julie Klam, who has written a book about a dog called Love at First Bark. We didn’t know that until the end of the trailer though.
Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings suffered an embarrassment over the summer when Little, Brown rejected his manuscript for The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. Mr. Hastings is not a client of Andrew Wiley’s for nothing, however, and his agent has come to his rescue, moving the book to David Rosenthal’s Penguin imprint Blue Rider Press for publication in January 2012.
House Ads, Ad Watch
We’re a little disappointed with the Penguin Classics Skateboard Photo Contest on Facebook, in which literary skateboarders submit photos of their skateboards with a copy of a Penguin Classic to compete for the opportunity to win a Huckleberry Finn skateboard deck.
Is that a schoolyard status symbol these days?
Anyway, a few of Read More
New York Times business columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book Too Big Too Fail is out in paperback today and Penguin, Mr. Sorkin’s publisher, has bought up every inch of ad space on Business Day’s site to drive sales.
The words “New York Times bestseller” appear in the advertisements a total of four times. Read More
A funny thing happened during Granta’s B.E.A. panel on the state of American writing on Friday, when a woman from the audience asked Paul Auster whether it was his idea to turn Timbuktu, a novella he published in 1999, into a children’s book.
For a moment, Mr. Auster looked at the questioner Read More
From the outside, it looked like a colossal failure of management: a case of crossed wires, perhaps, or the result of overpowering pressures combining with such force that the people in charge had no option but to do what they did.
What else could explain Susan Peterson Kennedy’s decision last week Read More