Thursday, 4 December 2008

Random House Restructures and confirms Industry facing some of the most Difficult times in Publishing History


More changes afoot in the publishing world. The anticipated restructuring of Random House, Inc. U.S.A was announced on December 3, in a letter sent by chairman Markus Dohle to company employees.


A new publishing structure and a new leadership team have been put in place for the adult trade divisions, effective immediately. The letter can be read in full at Publisher's Weekly.

"After looking closely and extensively at our organization and its rich diversity of authors and resources, we have created a plan for our future that aligns existing strengths and publishing affinities and fosters teamwork throughout the company. It will maximize our growth potential in these challenging economic times and beyond."

The Random House Publishing Group, under the leadership of President and Publisher Gina Centrello, will expand to include the imprints of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, including The Dial Press, along with Doubleday’s Spiegel & Grau.

The Knopf Publishing Group, led by Chairman Sonny Mehta, will expand to include the Doubleday and Nan A. Talese imprints from the Doubleday Publishing Group.

The Crown Publishing Group, under the direction of President and Publisher Jenny Frost, will expand to include the other imprints from the Doubleday Publishing Group—Broadway, Doubleday Business, Doubleday Religion and WaterBrook Multnomah.

The highly regarded Random House Children’s Books division, led by President and Publisher Chip Gibson, will continue its remarkable publishing programs without change.

IRWYN APPLEBAUM, President and Publisher of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, will step down from his position, effective immediately, and will leave the company. The position of President and Publisher of the Doubleday Publishing Group has been eliminated. Chairman Markus Dohle is currently in discussions with STEPHEN RUBIN about creating a new role for him at Random House, Inc.

Through greater collaborative efforts among the publishing, marketing and sales departments, we can sharpen our priorities, market our books more effectively, and respond more quickly and directly to a constantly changing marketplace.
That, in turn, will strengthen our vital partnership with our customers. Coordinating our online marketing and growing our digital publishing business will be further priorities.


***

What does this mean for authors? The group has been slimmed down and consolidated. Random used to have a huge number of imprints, each acting independently. Which would mean that you could have had a large number of potential publishers competing to bid for your work. Now, the newly created three larger groups will still be bidding for work independently but there are now fewer groups, meaning that there are fewer industry-wide bidders than there used to be. Editorial imprints within the groups will remain independent, but, of course, will not be bidding against each other within their group.

Dohle says, each will , "publish autonomously, promote aggressively, and strive for more competitive advantages in the marketplace."

And lots of changes to Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2009 and Writers' Market 2009, don't forget to use the online versions for, I would hope, up to date information.

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