penguin house

Random House Inc. and Penguin Group have completed a planned merger that creates the world’s largest publisher of consumer books.

Parent companies Bertelsmann and Pearson said they signed the final contracts on Monday(July 1st) to combine the global activities of the two publishers and create Penguin Random House. Random House parent Bertelsmann will hold 53 per cent of the new company and Penguin owner Pearson 47 per cent.

Penguin Random House will include top-selling authors such as Dan Brown and Ken Follett and a vast back catalogue ranging from John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” to Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

Random House chief executive Markus Dohle becomes CEO of the privately held new group, based in New York. Penguin’s CEO John Makinson will be the chairman of its board of directors. (Via Ottawa Citizen)

What does this mean?  How will things change?  For the moment it appears everything is business as normal, and the new merged company assures everyone that change will come slowly.

Receptionists cheerfully answered the phones with a new greeting: “Good morning, Penguin Random House.”

E-mails were sent to nervous employees assuring them that their health plans would not change.

And a new temporary logo — with a penguin in profile next to a tidy house — was released until a permanent one could be designed.

On Monday, the newly formed company of Penguin Random House began to take shape, only hours after a middle-of-the-night announcement that the long-planned merger had been completed.

Together, Penguin and Random House will make up the biggest and most dominant publisher in the business, one that has unmatched leverage against Amazon.com and the potential to inspire other mergers in the industry….

There are no immediate plans for laying off employees or closing imprints. Both Penguin and Random House have long leases on their buildings in Manhattan, so they will not work from the same building anytime soon — maybe not for at least a decade, Mr. Dohle said….

Analysts said it was too early to predict the consumer impact of the merger. Mike Shatzkin, the founder and chief executive of Idea Logical, a consultant to publishers, speculated that Penguin Random House would eventually use its large list of books to create a digital subscription offer, much like a book-of-the-month club for e-books, or build minibookstores within retailers like clothing stores.

For authors, the suddenly larger presence of Penguin Random House will make it a more attractive prospect, Mr. Shatzkin (the founder and chief executive of Idea Logical, a consultant to publishers) said.

“If you’re a Penguin author or a Random House author, you should be pretty happy today,” he said. “If you’re another publisher or an author with another publisher, you should be watching this with a wary eye.” (Via The New York Times)

I’m still not sure, as a reader and book reviewer that works with both publishers, what I think of this merger.  I’m sure there will definitely be good and bad points.  I can only hope that the good outweighs the bad and that we can maintain our relationships with the new merged publisher and build new working relationships as well to continue to bring you reviews and information on great books!  But I do love the above new logo… even if it is temporary!  Although, I’ve seen so many floating around on the net, who knows which one is the ‘real’ one?