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Penguin Random House Acquires Rodale Books’ Trade Publishing Assets

Penguin Random House has purchased the trade-book publishing assets of Rodale Books, the pathfinding, highly regarded wellness publisher, and will take over the publication of its frontlist and backlist titles effective immediately, it was announced today by Markus Dohle, Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Random House. Rodale Books was acquired from Hearst, which completed its purchase of Rodale, Inc., the parent publisher of Rodale Books, last week. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Rodale Books’ Adult nonfiction will be part of the Crown Publishing Group, as an imprint of its Illustrated and Lifestyle division, comprised of the Harmony, Ten Speed Press, and Clarkson Potter publishing programs, overseen by Aaron Wehner, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Clarkson Potter, Ten Speed Press, and Harmony Books. Diana Baroni, Vice President, Editorial Director, Harmony Books, will be responsible for Rodale Books. The Rodale Kids imprint, which made its debut in Fall 2017, will be taken on by Random House Children’s Books, led by Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher. Mallory Loehr, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Random House Books for Young Readers Group, will be responsible for Rodale Kids.

Under the leadership of several generations of the Rodale family, Rodale Books has been publishing authoritative and bestselling titles in the wellness, lifestyle, fitness, and cookbook categories for more than 75 years. Its many life-changing works include AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH by Al Gore; Dr. David Kessler’s THE END OF OVEREATING; Lewis Howes’s THE SCHOOL OF GREATNESS; Jessica Alba’s THE HONEST LIFE;  Maria Rodale’s ORGANIC MANIFESTO; RUN FAST, EAT SLOW by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky; and THE BULLETPROOF DIET by Dave Asprey. Among its popular series are THUG KITCHEN, WHEAT BELLY, and THE SOUTH BEACH DIET, along with trade titles from Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, and its other iconic magazine and online brands. Penguin Random House will be acquiring over 100 frontlist titles from Rodale Books and the Rodale Kids imprint, and over 2,000 backlist titles.

Markus Dohle, CEO, Penguin Random House, said: “With our acquisition of Rodale Books and its impressive frontlist and backlist, we continue to grow the Penguin Random House portfolio of award-winning and bestselling titles. Our exceptional publishing teams at both Crown Publishing Group and Random House Children’s Books look forward to building upon Rodale Books’ decades of success and supporting its distinguished authors and their books for decades more.”

Maya Mavjee, President and Publisher, Crown Publishing Group, said: “I am thrilled to have the Rodale Books Adult publishing program join the Crown Publishing Group. Its rich history as a prominent publisher of lifestyle and wellness titles complements our Harmony Books list perfectly. Bringing Harmony and Rodale together builds a powerhouse within our publishing division as a category leader, and we look forward to welcoming Rodale authors to our Group.”

Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher, Random House Children’s Books, said: “We are so pleased to welcome the Rodale Kids publishing program and authors to Random House Children’s Books. Rodale launched their Kids line with an inspiring commitment to shaping a brighter future for young readers, and this is evident in the focus of their books: encouraging and motivating good habits of nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and environmental responsibility. The Rodale Kids titles will expand the offerings of our division into areas that we believe are so important for young readers, teens and families today.”

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Blog from Markus Dohle: Our Social Impact This Year

Dear Colleagues,

As 2017 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on our role and responsibility as publishers. In today’s divided world, books matter more than ever. Books, we know, have the power to connect and transform us. As a global community of book lovers, we are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. And I believe we do: with our publishing and through our corporate citizenship. Both drive the social impact we have as Penguin Random House. Today, I am pleased to be writing to share our first-ever Social Impact Highlights Summary, which showcases how our company operates responsibly and complements our publishing efforts by going beyond the day-to-day activities of the business to give back to our communities, both locally and globally, across our territories.

One of my strongest convictions is that our social responsibility efforts are essential to who we are and what we do as Penguin Random House. From championing freedom of expression and creativity, to promoting diversity and inclusion, to reducing our carbon footprint, we have set forth a number of 2020 Commitments that we are working hard to achieve through in-house initiatives and programs and through our partnerships with local and global nonprofit organizations. You’ll see some of these featured in our Highlights Summary. This good work, coupled with the brilliant books we publish every day, has ensured our meaningful and positive social impact in the world. Thank you for connecting our books with readers who learn from them, escape with them, and cherish them like we do. And thank you for embracing our collective responsibility to defend free speech, lift up marginalized voices, protect our earth, and help those in need. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together thus far, and am excited about our potential to do even more in 2018. I wish you a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable year-end break with your friends and family. Happy Reading,          

Bertelsmann’s Thomas Rabe Hosts Lunch for Salman Rushdie in Berlin

Thomas Rabe welcomed Salman Rushdie, one of Penguin Random House’s most renowned authors, to Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin last Friday, December 1.  Bertelsmann’s Chairman and CEO hosted a private lunch to honor Mr. Rushdie, praising him as a defender of freedom of speech and a brilliant storyteller.  “We are grateful and proud to have served, for decades, as the publishing home to such an eminent author,” said Mr. Rabe. 

Mr. Rushdie was promoting his new novel THE GOLDEN HOUSE in Germany. The book, which paints a panorama of a deeply divided American society, was published in September by Penguin Random House in the U.S., Great Britain, and many other regions.  C. Bertelsmann published the book in German-speaking countries.  THE GOLDEN HOUSE is set against the backdrop of American culture and politics in the Obama years, and covers topics such as the rise of the Tea Party, the revolt against political correctness, and the triumph of an “ambitious and narcissistic man with dyed hair.” Salman Rushdie, born in Bombay in 1947, has been published by Bertelsmann publishers since 1981, first in Britain, then in the U.S., and now worldwide. His twelve novels have won prestigious international awards, including the Booker Prize, and they have been translated into more than 40 languages.  He was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 2007.

Our 5 NYTBR “10 Best Books of 2017”

Selected by editors of the New York Times Book Review, here are the 5 fiction and nonfiction books published by our imprints, among their presentation of “The 10 Best Books of 2017.”

The full list is published online, and will appear in the publication’s December 10 print edition.

  • AUTUMN by Ali Smith (Pantheon Books) The extraordinary friendship of an elderly songwriter and the precocious child of his single-parent neighbor is at the heart of this novel that darts back and forth through the decades, from the 1960s to the era of Brexit. The first in a projected four-volume series, it’s a moving exploration of the intricacies of the imagination, a sly teasing-out of a host of big ideas and small revelations, all hovering around a timeless quandary: how to observe, how to be. Read NYT review of “Autumn”
  • EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books) A deceptively simple conceit turns a timely novel about a couple fleeing a civil war into a profound meditation on the psychology of exile. Magic doors separate the known calamities of the old world from the unknown perils of the new, as the migrants learn how to adjust to an improvisatory existence. Hamid has written a novel that fuses the real with the surreal — perhaps the most faithful way to convey the tremulous political fault lines of our interconnected planet. Read NYT review of “Exit West”
  • THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us by Richard O. Prum (Doubleday) If a science book can be subversive and feminist and change the way we look at our own bodies — but also be mostly about birds — this is it. Prum, an ornithologist, mounts a defense of Darwin’s second, largely overlooked theory of sexual selection. Darwin believed, in addition to evolving to adapt to the environment, some other force must be at work shaping the species: the aesthetic mating choices made largely by females. Prum wants subjectivity and the desire for beauty to be part of our understanding of how evolution works. A passionate plea that begins with birds and ends with humans and will help you finally understand, how in the world we have an animal like the peacock. Read NYT review of “The Evolution of Beauty”
  • GRANT by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press) Even those who think they are familiar with Ulysses S. Grant’s career will learn something from Chernow’s fascinating and comprehensive biography, especially about Grant’s often overlooked achievements as president. What is more, at a time of economic inequality reflecting the 19th century’s Gilded Age and a renewed threat from white-supremacy groups, Chernow reminds us that Grant’s courageous example is more valuable than ever, and in this sense, “Grant” is as much a mirror on our own time as a history lesson. Read NYT review of “Grant”
  • PRIESTDADDY by Patricia Lockwood (Riverhead Books) In this affectionate and very funny memoir, Lockwood weaves the story of her family — including her Roman Catholic priest father, who received a special dispensation from the Vatican — with her own coming-of-age, and the crisis that later led her and her husband to live temporarily under her parents’ rectory roof. She also brings to bear her gifts as a poet, mixing the sacred and profane in a voice that’s wonderfully grounded and authentic. This book proves Lockwood to be a formidably gifted writer who can do pretty much anything she pleases. Read NYT review of “Priestdaddy”

Our 7 NYTBR "Notable Children's Books of 2017"

The New York Times Book Review children’s books editor has selected seven titles published by our Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books imprints among the “Notable Children’s Books of 2017” in the picture books, middle grade, young adult fiction and nonfiction categories.

All three complete lists are online and will appear in in their entirety the Book Review’s December 3 print edition. Middle Grade ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson. (Dial) “I dub thee brilliant,” our reviewer, Marjorie Ingall, said of this graphic novel about a girl just starting middle school, whose family works at a Renaissance faire. THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET by David Barclay Moore. (Knopf) This sparkling debut is about a grieving Harlem boy who’s lost his older brother and finds in friendship and competitive Lego building a path away from the lure of gangs. TUMBLE & BLUE by Cassie Beasley. (Dial) A boy and his new friend head out on a quest to escape a family curse that runs through generations in this exuberant, heartfelt fantasy set mostly in an alligator-filled Georgia swamp. Young Adult AKATA WARRIOR by Nnedi Okorafor. (Viking) This enthralling second book about Sunny, an albino Nigerian girl who can do magic, has her mastering her powers to save the world from apocolyptic doom. LA BELLE SAUVAGE by Philip Pullman (Knopf) Pullman’s long-awaited prequel to the “His Dark Materials” trilogy pulls you back into the fascinating alternate universe of the original series, exploring the nature of the powerful substance called Dust and following the heroine, Lyra Belacqua, from babyhood. I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER by Erika L. Sánchez. (Knopf) This gripping debut finds humor as well as pathos in 15-year-old Julia’s quest to uncover her Mexican-American family’s secrets after the death of her seemingly dutiful sister. TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green. (Dutton) Green’s chronicle of a teenager’s struggle to live and love—and solve a mystery—despite her debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder is simply “astonishing,” said our reviewer, Jennifer Senior.
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Fisher’s ‘THE PRINCESS DIARIST’ Grammy® Spoken Word Nominee

Carrie Fisher’s THE PRINCESS DIARIST is nominated for a Best Spoken Word Album GRAMMY® Award.  Read by its author, along with her daughter Billie Lourd, the Penguin Random House Audio release is one of five finalists in this category announced this morning.

The Penguin Audio was produced by our multi-GRAMMY® nominated Audio colleague Dan Zitt.  It is also available in Blue Rider Press print and e-book editions. Congratulations to all. Penguin Random House Audio titles have previously received 14 GRAMMY® Awards, including last year’s Best Spoken Word Album winner, Carol Burnett’s In Such Good Company, and 42 additional GRAMMY® nominations. Fingers crossed for us at the 60th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, which will be presented Sunday, January 28, 2018, at Madison Square Garden.

Riverhead’s Masha Gessen 2017 NBA Nonfiction Winner; Our NBA Winners, 2013-17

Masha Gessen, author of THE FUTURE IS HISTORY, was honored Wednesday night at a ceremony in Manhattan with the National Book Award for Nonfiction, continuing a cherished, time-honored connection for Penguin Random House authors with one of America’s most coveted literary prizes.

This is the fifth consecutive year in which our authors have won at least one National Book Award, preceded by many NBA long-  and short-listers, as recognized by the respective panels of judges in each of the four categories.

THE FUTURE IS HISTORY: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen(Riverhead Books Hardcover & E-book; Penguin Audio)

In THE FUTURE IS HISTORY, visionary journalist and bestselling biographer of Vladimir Putin Masha Gessen reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy. Hailed for her “fearless indictment of the most powerful man in Russia” (The Wall Street Journal), Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. She follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. “A remarkable portrait of an ever-shifting era…Gessen weaves her characters’ stories into a seamless, poignant whole. Her analysis of Putin’s malevolent administration is just as effective…a harrowing, compassionate and important book,” San Francisco Chronicle. In accepting her Award, a beaming Masha Gessen spoke without prepared notes—because she “didn’t think this was going to happen.” She told the audience of 750 attendees that her final work ended up a much longer and different book on Russia than originally planned, thanking her publisher, Riverhead, “for sticking with me,” and especially her long time editor Becky Saletan. In congratulating Masha Gessen, Becky Saletan, and the Riverhead/Penguin Publishing Group and Penguin Random House Audio publishing teams, we also celebrate their counterparts behind our six NBA semi-finalists and five finalists for this year’s National Book Awards. The complete list of Penguin Random House National Book Award winners, 2013-2017:
  • Fiction: 2016: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) 2015: FORTUNE SMILES: Stories by Adam Johnson (Random House) 2014: REDEPLOYMENT by Phil Klay (Penguin Press) 2013: THE GOOD LORD BIRD by James McBride (Riverhead)
  • Nonfiction: 2017: THE FUTURE IS HISTORY: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen(Riverhead Books) 2015: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
  • Poetry: 2015: VOYAGE OF THE SABLE VENUS by Robin Coste Lewis (Knopf)
  • Young People’s Literature: 2014: BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books)
  With this Nonfiction National Book Award, we continue a 2017 of extraordinary achievement, in which the highest literary honors have been bestowed upon our Penguin Random House North America authors and their work: The Newbery Medal for LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson; Grammy® for IN SUCH GOOD COMPANY by Carol Burnett (Best Spoken Word); National Book Critics Circle Awards for EVICTED by Matthew Desmond (Nonfiction); LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren (Autobiography).  Pulitzer Prizes for THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead (Fiction); EVICTED by Matthew Desmond (General Nonfiction); BLOOD IN THE WATER by Heather Ann Thompson (History); THE RETURN by Hisham Matar (Biography).  The Man Booker Prize for LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders.  The Nobel Prize for Literature for Kazuo Ishiguro. We all share our publishing colleagues’ pride and thrill in our authors’ achievements.  What a privilege to be in such company and for all of us to contribute to building their readership.

Penguin Random House Operations Worldwide To Join Together To Create Fully Coordinated Global Publishing Events For The Two Obama Books

corporate logoPenguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle today announced that all of the company’s publishing operations worldwide will join together to publish former President Barack Obama’s and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s forthcoming books. In each of the respective local territories, the books will have their own globally coordinated publication plan and publication date. Penguin Random House acquired world rights to the two Obama books last month.

In addition to the United States and Canada, where the books will be published by Crown, among the territories where Penguin Random House will publish English-language editions are: the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, under the UK company’s Viking imprint. Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial will publish the books in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan across two continents in the following countries: Spain, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Portugal. There also will be a U.S. Spanish-language edition published by Penguin Random House. Companhia das Letras will publish the books in Portuguese in Brazil. Penguin Random House’s sister company in Germany, Verlagsgruppe Random House, which is wholly owned by Bertelsmann and overseen by Markus Dohle, will publish both books in German, in full coordination with Penguin Random House. Markus Dohle, CEO, Penguin Random House, said, “The Penguin Random House teams around the world are comprised of the industry’s most respected and accomplished publishers, and together we look forward to leveraging our editorial depth and unparalleled experience and reach to provide President and Mrs. Obama with a global platform and audience for their books.” Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, said, “We could not be more thrilled that the Obamas have chosen Penguin Random House as their global and UK publishing home. Our publishers all believe in the real ability of books to change and shape lives for the better. We know the Obamas’ books will be both magnificent pieces of writing and inspiring calls to action.” On behalf of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, CEO Núria Cabutí said, “It is a source of immense pride for us to publish the Obamas in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. We look forward to helping spread the Obamas’ messages to people across the Spanish-speaking world.” “Companhia das Letras is guided by two core values: to promote a wide range of world perspectives and to give voice to the diversity of the human experience. Publishing the books of President Obama and Mrs. Obama will be an honor and a mission in a world and in a country that are in need of enlightening messages. We will ensure, with a true sense of duty, that they reach the largest Brazilian audience possible,” said Luiz Schwarcz, Publisher, Companhia das Letras. “Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, individually and as a couple, uniquely embody what it means to take responsibility for the world in which we live. Their grace and style, humor, and intellectual rigor have made them universal role models, and an inspiration to people across the globe. We are thrilled to become a part of the Penguin Random House global publishing effort, by bringing their books to German readers,” said Frank Sambeth, CEO, Verlagsgruppe Random House. In support of the mission of The Obama Foundation and Penguin Random House’s own commitment to social responsibility, the company will donate one million books in the Obama family’s name to First Book, a longstanding Penguin Random House non-profit partner and the Washington, DC-based partner for the 2016 White House digital education initiative, Open eBooks. First Book is dedicated to promoting equal access to education by providing new books, learning materials, and other essentials to children in need in the United States and Canada. Consistent with their past practice, the Obamas also plan to donate a significant portion of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.