company and ceo news

Penguin Random House and MTA Metro-North RR Debut “Grand Central Reads”

Penguin Random House is exclusively partnering with the MTA Metro-North Rail Road on Grand Central Reads, which mirrors the Subway Reads platform we launched two years ago, this time targeting commuters going through Grand Central Terminal. The June 26 launch was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement of a decision in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City that saved Grand Central from redevelopment. Through August 31, commuters can use their mobile devices to download free Penguin Random House book excerpts from inside Grand Central Terminal, station platforms and the Park Avenue Tunnel. To access Grand Central Reads, customers can connect to the public Wi-Fi and visit grandcentralreads.com.

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“Penguin Random House is pleased to partner with the MTA to offer book selections tailored and timed to the length of individual commutes,” said Madeline McIntosh, CEO, Penguin Random House U.S. “Books are fantastic companions that add inspiration and entertainment to the commuting experience, and we’re delighted that Grand Central Reads puts our books together with visitors to this wonderful historic landmark.” “We create partnerships and experiences like Grand Central Reads to help us consistently evolve and improve how Grand Central Terminal serves the 750,000 people who pass through and visit daily,” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “We’re excited to give people an opportunity to ignite their passion for reading, connect with each other, and experience the heart of New York City in new ways.” Grand Central Reads features a wide range of our Penguin Random House titles, including: Grand Central visitors who enjoy the excerpts also can choose to purchase the full-length e-books directly. For more information about the Grand Central Reads program, please visit: grandcentralreads.com  

Kristin Cochrane Named CEO of Penguin Random House Canada

Dear Colleagues,

Since 2015 KRISTIN COCHRANE has served as President and Publisher of Penguin Random House Canada, working closely with CEO Brad Martin, who announced his retirement today. It gives me great pleasure to share with you that Kristin will succeed Brad as CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, reporting to me, effective July 1, 2018. She will also join our Global Executive Committee.

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Kristin’s passion for and understanding of our company began in December 2005, when, ten years into her promising career, she was appointed Associate Publisher of Doubleday Canada, having previously been Sales Director, National Accounts, at HarperCollins Canada. Over the next thirteen years, as she took on more and more responsibility for the publishing groups, her deep know-how of the marketplace and creative instincts helped her to effectively balance and broaden the literary and commercial sides of our publishing programs. As a leader, Kristin has an impressive track record of mentoring and empowering her publishing teams to make our iconic Canadian imprints even more successful. Her focus on creating and enhancing the distinct identity and direction for each of our imprints, while sharing best practices across them, has been instrumental in helping to make Penguin Random House Canada the publishing powerhouse it is today. During her tenure, the team in Canada has celebrated wins for its authors of the Giller Prize three of the last four years, the Booker Prize, a Nobel last year for Kazuo Ishiguro and for Canada’s treasured Alice Munro in 2013. Her close relationships with a wide range of authors, coupled with her extensive connections with industry peers and agents in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., have solidified her reputation as one of the industry's most admired and respected publishers. In fact, alongside many of the authors she publishes, she has been recognized on Toronto Life’s “50 Most Influential List” three times, and was recently featured in the book “Canada 150 Women.” As CEO, Kristin will set and implement the day-to-day and long-term publishing and business strategy for our Canadian company. She will now oversee the Sales, Finance, Operations, HR, Communications, Marketing and Publicity groups and functions, while continuing to guide the publishing programs she has brilliantly developed. Over the coming weeks, Kristin will be working with Brad to ensure a smooth transition for July 1. I am looking forward to working closely with Kristin in her new role to build upon and further enhance the strengths of our successful Canadian company. Please join me in congratulating Kristin on her promotion. Yours,     Markus Dohle Chief Executive Officer Penguin Random House    

Brad Martin To Retire as CEO of Penguin Random House Canada

Dear Colleagues,

Today, BRAD MARTIN is announcing that he will retire as CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, effective June 30, 2018, the culmination of a career of unparalleled accomplishment with our company and in Canadian trade publishing.

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From his earliest days in book publishing, Brad demonstrated and became widely recognized and respected for his keen instinct for sales and marketing, and especially, a passion for books and publishing. His support and commitment to Canadian literature has helped to create the largest community of publishing imprints and programs in Canada, characterized by an impressive record of award recognition and bestsellers. Brad began his publishing career in 1981 as a sales representative at McClelland & Stewart selling iconic Canadian authors including Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, and Peter C. Newman. He moved to Penguin Books Canada in 1984, and was named President in 1996. In March of 1998—on the very day of the announcement of the merger of Bantam Doubleday Dell (BDD) and Random House—he joined BDD Canada. Brad rose to become CEO of Random House of Canada in 2007. In July 2013, Brad was appointed CEO of our newly formed Penguin Random House Canada—which made Brad’s professional life come full circle by bringing McClelland & Stewart, Penguin, and Random House together under one roof. As a leader, Brad has built an excellent team, and has overseen the successful integration of Random House and Penguin, including the complex and culturally important move from multiple offices in Toronto to one, while keeping the company focused on driving the business forward. He has guided our Canadian division through digital transformation, including overseeing and encouraging the creation of Hazlitt, our award-winning online magazine, along with the ongoing development of an industry-leading sales and marketing team, and the introduction of a Canadian digital audiobook program in 2017. Brad’s hands-on approach and deep understanding of the business has helped to ensure that our Canadian operation has delivered multiple years of record performance, and under his direction, Penguin Random House Canada also leads the industry in cultural and philanthropic initiatives. Brad himself is on the Board of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and of Ludia, Inc., a Fremantle company based in Montreal, and has served three terms as President of the Canadian Publishers’ Council. He has also been a highly effective ambassador with the Canadian government, consistently demonstrating our commitment to Canadian authors and culture. A great testament and legacy of that commitment has been the integration of the cultural heritage and creative treasure of McClelland & Stewart into our community of publishing houses in Canada. During the ten years Brad and I have closely worked together, I have admired his commitment to the advancement of our company, his appreciation and support for his team, and most of all, his dedication to this business we all love. Penguin Random House is today stronger than ever because of him. I know you all join me in celebrating Brad’s exceptional 37-year-career at McClelland & Stewart, Penguin, Bantam Doubleday Dell, Random House and Penguin Random House. From me personally—and on behalf of all of us at Penguin Random House—I want to express my sincere appreciation to Brad for his lifetime of contributions spanning one of the longest and most successful careers in publishing worldwide. Thank you, Brad! Yours,     Markus Dohle Chief Executive Officer Penguin Random House  

Our ALA Midwinter Award Recipients, Part One: Odyssey, RUSA Listen Audio Winners

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting brings forth a cascade of awards and honors accorded distinguished Children’s and Adults books and audios, published (mostly) in the past year.

We’ll be reporting on all our winners ahead.

First up, our Penguin Random House Audio recognitions.

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Two of our Listening Library productions were each recognized with an Odyssey Honor, as outstanding presentations: THE BOOK OF DUST by Philip Pullman, narrated by Michael Sheen. Produced in the U.S. by Orli Moscowitz in collaboration with PRH Audio UK A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS by Matt Haig, narrated by Stephen Fry. Produced in the U.S. by Dan Zitt. To date, Listening Library titles have been bestowed with 14 Odyssey Honors and 4 Odyssey Prize Awards, the highest Audio accolades from the Library community. RUSA Listen List Awards For Adults: THE BOOK OF POLLY: A Novel by Kathy Hepinstall. Narrated by Jenna Lamia. THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR: A Novel by Jennifer Ryan. Narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, Laura Kirman, Imogen Wilde, Adjoa Andoh, Tom Clegg, Mike Grady. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman. Narrated by Cathleen McCarron. LINCOLN IN THE BARDO: A Novel by George Saunders. Narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, Lena Dunham, and a full cast. STRANGER IN THE WOODS: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. Narrated by Mark Bramhall. DAYS WITHOUT END by Sebastian Barry. Listen Alikes: SPOONBENDERS: A Novel by Daryl Gregory. Narrated by Ari Fliakos. BELIEVE ME: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard. Narrated by Eddie Izzard. YES, CHEF: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. Narrated by Marcus Samuelsson. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows. Narrated by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, Juliet Mills. THE CHAPERONE by Laura Moriarty. Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern. THE ENGAGEMENTS by J. Courtney Sullivan. Narrated by Kimberly Farr. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Paul Boehmer. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner. Narrated by Marc Cashman, Robertson Dean, Lina Patel, Lorna Raver. THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING by Louise Miller. Narrated by Jorjeana Marie. KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST: A Novel by J. Ryan Stradal. Narrated by Amy Ryan, Michael Stuhlbarg. BORN TO RUN: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Narrated by Fred Sanders. THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER by Karen Dionne. Narrated by Emily Rankin. IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE by Eric Gansworth. Narrated by Eric Gansworth. I’M FINE…AND OTHER LIES by Whitney Cummings. Narrated by Whitney Cummings. More ALA Awards news to come.

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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.

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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.