Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial

Interview with Carmen Ospina at PRH Grupo Editorial

Penguin Random House’s audiobook business is an essential pillar of our global growth strategy for 2019 and beyond. Read on for an interview with Carmen Ospina, Director of Marketing, Analytics and Business Development at PRH Grupo Editorial. 


Q: There has been an increased demand for Spanish-language audiobooks in your territories. Can you speak to the differences in your various markets and the collaborative efforts with your US colleagues?

Carmen Ospina

A: Yes, demand has increased and it will continue to grow as important players like Audible and Storytel open their dedicated Spanish-language storefronts in Spain, Mexico, the U.S. and other Spanish-speaking territories. Although this will likely change in time, most of our sales today come from the United States, where the audiobook market is more mature and the format is widespread.

Partly for this reason, and also because we wanted to learn from their experience, we have collaborated closely with PRH US’s audiobook team since we launched our first audiobook pilot in 2014. They’ve recommended studios and shared production guidelines and technical specifications, we’ve also collaborated on rights acquisitions and we’re now co-producing important titles like the Game of Thrones saga. We also co-hired award-winning audio director/producer Jorge Reyes, and he is now helping both companies with their production. Collaborating closely with Amanda D’Aciernco’s team has been key for the success of our project and it’s been a major competitive advantage for Grupo Editorial to have their know-how as we create an audiobook market in the Spanish-speaking world.

Introducing New Penguin Random House Imprints from Around the World

Over the last year our publishing groups worldwide announced or launched exciting new imprints. The imprints’ goals and mission range from giving more diverse voices a platform and publishing home to providing tailored content for digital devices and offering ancillary products that leverage the power and impact of our greatest authors. Here is a roundup of some of our new imprints:

  KOKILA Penguin Young Readers (U.S.) [caption id="attachment_10180" align="alignright" width="170"] Namrata Tripathi[/caption] KOKILA (pronounced KO-ki-la), the new Penguin Young Readers imprint, will bring together an inclusive community of authors and illustrators, publishing professionals, and readers to examine and celebrate stories that reflect the richness of our world. Kokila will be helmed by VP and Publisher Namrata Tripathi, former Associate Publisher and Editorial Director of Dial Books for Young Readers. The name Kokila comes from the Sanskrit name for the koel bird. The kokila has great significance in Indian poetry and myth, and is celebrated as a harbinger of new beginnings. In the spirit of its name, Kokila aims to center stories from the margins and to make space for storytellers to explore the full range of their experiences adding nuance and depth to the way children and young adults see the world and their place in it. Kokila will publish works by Pablo Cartaya, Sherine Hamdy and Myra El-Mir, Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña, and Nilah Magruder. The imprint's first list of books will be released in the Summer of 2019. “The idea exchange resulting from mixing cultures and languages has shaped the way I see the world,” says Namrata Tripathi. “At Kokila, we hope to build a community around authors, illustrators, and readers who believe in the power of sharing stories from across the full spectrum of experiences. And they will be supported by publishing professionals with a deep commitment to that mission.”   ONE WORLD Random House (U.S.)

Last year, Random House relaunched ONE WORLD under Chris Jackson as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. His mandate is to revitalize and expand the historic publishing program—originally established in 1991 as the first multicultural imprint at a major publishing house.

According to Mr. Jackson, “The fundamental mission of One World is to provide a home for writers—including novelists, essayists, memoirists, journalists, and thinkers and writers unconstrained by genre—who want to tell stories and explore ideas that help us reimagine our politics, culture, and interior lives, without the filter of the dominant culture. Twenty-five years ago One World was launched as an imprint that would tell stories for and from and about all of us—and that kind of vision remains a radical and vital one today. I’m thrilled we’ll be reanimating that idea and expanding its possibilities to capture the world in its fullness for this moment.” The imprint’s first two titles, BONES by Joe Tone and WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER by Ta-Nehisi Coates, were published to much critical acclaim.   POP PRESS Penguin Random House UK (Ebury) Ebury, one of the UK’s leading non-fiction publishers, launched a new imprint – Pop Press – dedicated to creative gift publishing last fall. Headed up by Laura Higginson, Editorial Director, and Elen Jones, Senior Commissioning Editor, Pop Press will publish 18 titles a year focused on trend-led, beautifully designed, impulse-price-point gift books. Recent and upcoming publications include: THE PERIODIC TABLE OF FEMINISM, which navigates the history of feminism through some of its most prominent advocates; HOW TO BE A PRINCESS, a collection of inspirational fairy tales for modern heroines to mark the upcoming Royal Wedding in May; STOP LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE, an illustrated manual that reminds us we can survive without our smartphones; and for some Christmas entertainment there's WHERE'S THE MERMAID?, a fun WHERE'S WALLY-style book for mermaid fans of all ages! With books increasingly sharing the same space in retailers as luxury greetings cards, mugs, t-shirts and stationery, Pop is Ebury’s way to focus its collective, creative energy to ensure its books are the gifts that shoppers choose.   PENGUIN LIFE Penguin Random House Australia In January of this year, Penguin Random House Australia launched Penguin Life, an imprint focused on personal development and healthy living. Penguin Life will publish six books this year, debuting with THE LONGEVITY DIET by Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute. Longo’s book has sold more than 300,000 copies to date in Italy. Other authors on the list are The Body Image Movement founder Taryn Brumfitt, the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center director Martin Seligman, and founder of the SugarByHalf campaign and former team doctor for the Australian cricket team, Dr Peter Brukner. “Penguin Life enables us, as a business, to better connect with communities and social issues, and take more responsibility for how we influence and contribute to readers’ lives,” says Nikki Christer, PRH Australia’s group publishing director.   PETIT Penguin Random House India Penguin Random House India will launch a digital imprint Penguin Petit.  Featuring a carefully curated selection from Penguin Random House India’s extensive list of titles, Penguin Petits are short reads, approximately 50 pages each, designed for ease of reading across digital devices.  Readers will now be able to enjoy the writings by some of their favourite authors in short, low priced and highly accessible digital formats, including works by Premchand, Gulzar, Devdutt Pattanaik, Ramachandra Guha, Sudha Murty and Anita Nair. Penguin Petits will provide great, quality content to suit a broad range of interests, from fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, mythology to self-help, history and current affairs, and will be available in an e-book format. Rukun Kaul, Associate Vice President, Digital and Business Initiatives, Penguin Random House India, said “With Penguin Petit, Penguin Random House India makes a foray into the world of accessible short-form reading. It’s designed for an increasingly mobile India that might want to be able to read anywhere and at any time. With its easy downloadability, wide range of content and accessible pricing, Penguin Petit should appeal to many readers. Our books and authors will also benefit from the easy discoverability and increased visibility that comes with making great reads available in a shorter and more affordable format.”   ORIGEN Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial  Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial USA launched Origen (Origin), a new religious imprint for Spanish-language books, which will feature titles on self-help, relationships, and a Christian-based lifestyle. The imprint will also publish titles for children and young adults under the Origen Kids label. “For many years, we have observed that a large number of Spanish-speaking readers are interested in religious books,” says Silvia Matute, president of PRHGE USA. “It just made sense for PRHGE to create a religious book imprint and start catering to the religious [Spanish-language] reader.” The new imprint will publish approximately 20 titles per year, among them works by prominent Hispanics, such as Pope Francis and evangelical pastor Samuel Rodriguez. The first four titles were released in October, including Pope Francis’s QUIÉN SOY YO PARA JUZGAR? Sister companies in Mexico, Colombia, and the rest of Latin America will publish additional titles that will be distributed as part of the Origen list.

How Three Recently Acquired Businesses Made Us a Bigger Spanish-Language Powerhouse, More Health-Conscious, and More Stylish

Expanding the reach of our authors to their readers, building our business, and growing our market share are important objectives for Penguin Random House in all our markets. These objectives are achieved in many ways, among them through three singular, compelling business acquisitions over the past year: Ediciones B, Rodale Books, and Out of Print.

  Ediciones B: Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial Already a Spanish-language publishing powerhouse, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial (PGRH) took a major stride toward increasing its cultural and commercial presence in Spain, Latin America, and Portugal with its acquisition of Ediciones B’s imprints from Grupo Zeta last July. With its 2014 addition of the Santillana Ediciones Generales publishing programs, and now Ediciones B, PRHGE is comprised of over 40 imprints, each of which retains its own identity and creative autonomy. Collectively, they publish more than 1,700 titles each year, mostly Spanish-language originals, and Spanish translations of fiction and nonfiction works for adults, children, and young readers in hardcover, paperback, digital e-books, and audio editions. Upon the closing of the transaction, Nuria Cabuti, CEO, PRHGE, said, “Our growing company will better enable us to deliver on our driving passion to publish books in both traditional and new formats to help our authors reach the five-hundred-million Spanish-speaking readers worldwide, by opening up new, exciting possibilities for them, and for our booksellers and consumers.”   Rodale Books: Crown Publishing Group & Random House Children’s Books U.S. Health, wellness, fitness, and cooking are among the most popular and enduring categories for book buyers around the world, and especially in the U.S. So, when Penguin Random House was presented by Hearst with the opportunity to expand its publishing portfolio earlier this year, they took it by purchasing the trade-book publishing assets of the authoritative U.S. wellness publisher Rodale Books. Rodale Books’ Adult Nonfiction publishing program immediately became an imprint of the Illustrated and Lifestyle division of the Crown Publishing Group. The fledgling Rodale Kids imprint is now part of Random House Children’s Books. All told, Penguin Random House acquired over 100 frontlist titles and more than 2,000 backlist works, including the classics AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH by Al Gore; THE SOUTH BEACH DIET; and trade titles from Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, and Rodale’s other magazine and iconic brands. As Markus Dohle said in January, “Our exceptional publishing teams look forward to building upon Rodale Books’ decades of success and supporting its distinguished authors and their books for decades more.”   OUT OF PRINT: Penguin Random House U.S. & Beyond “It is our mission to make wearing your favorite book feel as good as reading it does.” This is the guiding mantra of Out of Print (OOP), the eight-year-old pioneering creator and retailer of licensed literary-themed products. In what may be its most non-traditional corporate acquisition to date, Penguin Random House purchased the company last June from its co-founders, Todd Lawton and Jeffrey Le Blanc, who both continue as Managing Directors under the new ownership. Out of Print supplies readers in over 90 countries with an ever-growing variety of high-quality tee shirts, inspiring adult and children’s apparel, totes, and accessories, jewelry, home goods, and novelties that “celebrate the bookish lifestyle.” Out of Print sells its products in more than 1,000bookstores as well as fashion, college, and gift retailers, and on its popular consumer destination,, which reaches 100,000-plus customers monthly. Almost half of its customer base is between 25-44 years old, almost three-quarters are married, and more than 90% are college educated. Its top product categories are adult tee-shirts, socks, and totes. Its “Banned Books” mugs and socks are bestsellers. Since becoming part of Penguin Random House, OOP has been working with publishers’ marketers to help create buzz for pre-published works, and has begun enabling commerce on author micro-sites, fan pages, and social media.

Grupo Editorial Mexico Collaborates With Hospital to Improve Mental Health Through Reading

Highly cognizant of the important social and cultural responsibility of its mission as publishers, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial México has implemented a social responsibility initiative to support reading for a traditionally overlooked group: children and young adults with mental-health issues. The initiative is closely linked to our corporate philosophy—generating economic, social, and environmental value for our stakeholders—as we materialize the impact that our organizational decisions and activities have on society, especially through the continued promotion of reading, in particular to those at risk of social exclusion.

Encouraging the best publishing projects—broadening the horizons and possibilities for millions of people through reading—is a mandate for us with formidable social impact. However, we at Grupo Editorial Mexico want to go further to promote change and social development. We have decided to implement actions that strengthen the connection of our company and employees with the community. We are proud of the alliance we have with the Juan N. Navarro Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Mexico City—the only children’s and young adult psychiatric hospital in Latin America. Through reading circles that feature multiple creative, book-related activities, the partnership aids in the recovery of 2,000 children and young adults. In late 2016, after launching the initiative, a team of 55 Grupo Editorial México volunteers signed up, and were trained by the hospital’s social workers to participate in weekly two-hour reading sessions with the Children’s Psychiatric Hospital patients. We are convinced that reading is an essential part of a happy, full, and healthy life (Borges said that reading is one of the main forms of happiness), and this can be demonstrated empirically. Recent studies show that the brain generates cognitive reserves through reading. People with depression and other mental illnesses can improve their self-perception, and their imagination, understanding, and empathy, as well as their relationships with others, through the powerful exercise of reading. Our collaboration with the Juan N. Navarro Children’s Psychiatric Hospital has just begun, and we are already seeing positive results, impelling us to continue our mission of improving the present, the future of our company, and, above all, our society.