Blog Post

Welcome to the world’s largest book publisher: Penguin-Random House merger complete

Random House parent company Bertelsmann and Penguin parent company Pearson announced Monday that the merger of the two publishers is complete, thus resulting in the world’s largest book publisher: Penguin Random House.

penguin random house

The merger follows approval by the U.S., Canada, the EU, Australia, New Zealand and China.

Random House CEO Markus Dohle will serve as CEO of Penguin Random House; Bertelsmann owns 53 percent of the combined company, and Penguin owns 47 percent. Combined, the companies publish over 15,000 books annually and have 10,000 employees, with revenues of $3.9 billion.

One of the combined company’s goals is to advance in the digital and emerging ebook markets. “Together, we can and will invest on a much larger scale than separately in diverse content, author development and support, the publishing talent, the entire spectrum of physical and digital book acquisitions, production, marketing, and distribution, and also in fast-growing markets of the future,” Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement. “We are accelerating the transformation to digital and leveraging the entire range of possibilities it offers. We also are promoting regional growth, especially in the emerging markets of China, India, and Brazil.”

The press release notes the far-reaching footprint that Penguin Random House will have: “Penguin Random House will combine the adult and children’s fiction  and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India; Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia and South Africa; Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House’s companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and  Chile.” (Random House’s German-language publishing group Verlagsgruppe Random House is not included and remains part of Bertelsmann, reporting to Dohle.)

Among the leadership changes:

  • Coram Williams, who was CFO for Penguin, will now serve as CFO for Penguin Random House (PRH) and will oversee Author Solutions, the self-publishing business that Penguin acquired last year.
  • David Shanks is stepping down as CEO of Penguin and will serve as senior executive advisor to Dohle.
  • Madeline McIntosh, who was COO of Random House, becomes president and COO of PRH in the U.S.
  • Brad Martin, who was president and CEO of Random House Canada, becomes CEO of PRH Canada.
  • Tom Weldon, who was CEO of Penguin U.K., becomes CEO of PRH U.K.

<em>Photo courtesy of <a href=”″>Shutterstock / Thomas Bethge</a> </em>

3 Responses to “Welcome to the world’s largest book publisher: Penguin-Random House merger complete”

  1. Penguin has got to be pretty desperate as a traditional publisher to partner with a company with such terrible track record. Author House has had a bad reputation for nearly a decade. This is not their first law suit.

    Years ago, I published a book that examined all the self-publishing companies at the time. Author House was one of the worst, and CreateSpace was by far the most appealing. Today I see that CS is now the most popular self-publishing company, and for good reason–it’s free and of high quality. Who knows, maybe Penguin will turn things around at Author Solutions to save its own reputation.

    I read interview where Penguin stated that most Author House users spend $3-4000 on their marketing services! That alone is outrageous. As a career self-published writer, I have NEVER spent remotely that kind of money on marketing.

    First of all, there are websites with cover design options for less than a hundred dollars; and the most effective ways to market your book are free or nearly so. If you’re willing to put in the work — and it’s a ton of work — you can be successful self-publishing.

    Stacie Vander Pol

  2. Lee Gilmer

    Boy dis Penguin make a mistake given the Paula Deen fiasco. My husband and I lived through the 70’s and 80’s and when I went to Indianapolis, I was amazed at how often that word was used and my father-in-law who grew up in Alabama used it.i It’s very hard to break a lifelong habit as any smoker knows. I’m not surprised Paula used the n word even as late as 30 years ago since she grew up with it and probably still heard it when she was around people in their 50s and older. It was just common usage in the south even years after integration began. Anyway, my husband ordered it on Amazon and just told me to find out all the Random House imprints so he could boycott them. This is a man who reads maybe 5 books a week! I hope others follow his lead.