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Random Penguin? Penguin House?

With the merger between Random House and Penguin Group complete, I thought this would make a good opportunity to talk about the lasting impression BEA left us with in 2013. BEA 2013 was buzzing with energy and excitement. On the outside, one would never know that something major was taking place in the backdrop to change the face of publishing forever. At BEA, authors were enjoying rockstar treatment; lines and crowds were everywhere.

Meanwhile, two of the Big Six publishers were waiting for governments worldwide to clear one of the biggest mergers in publishing history. July 1st marks the official birth of Random House Penguin Group, a company consisting of Pearson’s trade divisions under the Penguin Group umbrella and all of Random House minus their Germany counterpart, Random House Verlagsgruppe. What does this mean? For publishing professionals, it means slightly less choice in your employer. The new powerhouse publishing group employs 10,000 employees worldwide and based upon their choices for the new upper management of both Random House and Penguin Group, I am sure the crew will be eager to slash 25% of their workforce to save money… because you know, #publishing. If publishing trends in the past are anything to make assumptions from, the new group will probably decide to merge like imprints and divisions, further reducing choices for publishing professionals.  

Agents, authors, and readers will also be out of luck once a bidding model is decided upon – since Penguin and Random House have different rules on how imprints can bid on proposals, it is important to note that one company allows imprints to big against one another for a manuscript while the other company does not allow that practice of author acquisition. I think this means a lot of great books that would have had a better chance of finding a home will be pushed aside because big publishers don’t like to take chances on unknown writers. On the plus side, this may allow Random House Penguin Group to throw their weight at Amazon in who knows what capacity. This new company will probably reinforce Simon & Schuster’s desire to merge with Hachette Book Group, reducing the publishing pool even more.  

While there are many things to worry about with this merger, I think this is a great opportunity for the mid-size publishers to step up and snap up unknown authors that may resort to self-publication to get notice. After all, it was Bloomsbury that discovered Harry Potter, not Scholastic. Mid-size publishers are always more willing to take chances on authors that wouldn’t get the time of day from the Big Six. Hopefully the smaller publishers will use this merger as an opportunity to fill some new voids created by Penguin and Random House turning into one.

BEA 2013 kicks off!

BEA is here once again and that means some pictures, swag, author signings, and industry panels. Since I was on limited time for Thursday, I can only discuss my limited tour of the show floor so far!

As always, there are hundreds of big name and little guy publishers to be found:


Pardon my lousy iphone photography skills!

Have you ever heard of Rizzoli? They make some wonderful, distinctive  illustrated titles ranging from fashion and high art to pop-culture.


Of course, what is BEA without one of the “Big Three” publishers? I’m sure Penguin, Random House (Random Penguin? Penguin Random House?), Pearson, and the other New York based companies are enjoying BEA in NYC once again. Book Expo 2015 might not be in New York. It’s very possible a lot of publishers in the NYC area may stay home in 2015…


Above is Peter Brown signing copies of the super cute illustrated book, Creepy Carrots. I like to think of this book as the Tale of Peter Rabbitfor grownups. I’m sure he thought I was creepy trying to get one focused picture with my iphone while I juggled a pile of free books in one hand, phone in the other.

Speaking of swag - this year ABRAMS opted to provide galleys instead of finished books - which to my knowledge is a first since I have always observed ABRAMS giving away one free copy of a new title. In a way this is better because there was a great selection of titles to check out via their galley samples. I grabbed an uncorrected proof of Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too: A Guidebook for Men and Their Cats. image

Pardon the lousy picture of course - anyway, I really can’t wait to get my hands on the final copy. As a cat lady with a boyfriend who isn’t too keen on my furbabies, I’m in love with this book. There are chapters describing cat ladies, cats, how men handle cats versus women, and why men should like cats. Additional information includes what to do if a cat vomits on you, how to pet your cat, and what is not a cat. Each section is accompanied with charts, graphs, fun facts, and witty comments.

I’m happy to see a book like this and can’t wait to buy a copy.

Book Expo America runs from May 30-June 1, 2013 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC.