Penguin Random House Announces New Library Marketing Initiatives


By Nicole Lamberson

Penguin Random House is working to strengthen its efforts with libraries in a series of moves this month aimed at increasing its already dominant presence.

Library Journal reported that Penguin Random House announced a new Adult Library Marketing Group, fusing Penguin and Random House’s operations. Though the two companies merged in July 2013, adult library marketing efforts have remained separate. President of Sales, Jaci Updike, wrote that by streamlining its marketing operations, Penguin Random House “will be ramping up our already extensive outreach efforts to libraries nationwide with our innovative marketing programs.” The new marketing group will ensure an integrated effort and that the process for libraries will be a smooth transition.

The article noted that libraries will likely see a “stepped-up energy,” and that both companies have had a history of commitment to libraries – Random House “has long been a model for trade publishers in library marketing,” and Penguin brings “far more [books] than its competitors” to the American Library Association’s annual conference.

News of its new marketing group is not the only library related news for Penguin Random House this month. The company announced a new partnership with BiblioCommons to expand its eBook offerings. BiblioCommons describes itself as “the only software vendor to focus exclusively on the online experience of public library patrons.” The agreement will make more than 38,000 titles available to BiblioCommons acquisitions platform. Vice President and Director of Library Marketing and Digital Sales, Sales Operations for Penguin Random House, Skip Dye, stated that working with BiblioCommons helps “public libraries play a new role in the discovery” of their titles and authors.

These steps show a concerted effort by Penguin Random House to continue strengthening its relationship with libraries. It also shows the importance libraries still play for publishers. It’s an essential market in increasing discovery and gaining new readers, and Penguin Random House is making sure to stay ahead of the pack.


Independent Bookstores on the Rebound?


By Nicole Lamberson

In this week’s Publishers Weekly, the trade magazine takes a look at how independent booksellers fared this summer. A survey of two dozen independent bookstores found that many saw an increase in sales during the summer months over the previous year, fueled in large part by two popular releases: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Also popular were adult coloring books, which provided an opportunity for additional sales through art supplies. Others noted that the much-anticipated Go Set A Watchman resulted in increased foot traffic.

One interesting and potential trend discussed in the article was how many booksellers reported an increase in kids’ book sales despite the fact that there was no big release in the YA genre. One store owner noted that, “sales are much more widely distributed among titles. And we are selling more and more kids nonfiction.” This also seemed to be the case for adult fiction, too. Many of the owners noted a variety of different books had been particularly strong sellers over the summer.

For many of the independent booksellers Publishers Weekly talked to, sales increased by double digits over the summer and owners projected strong sales would continue throughout the rest of the year and holiday season. Of course, it wasn’t positive for everyone; though, “only a few stores reported flat or down sales.” One bookstore in Caper, WY, cited the oil industry’s decline as the reason sales fell 7%. Another store in Fairhope, AL, noted that sales were down but that they weren’t seeing negative numbers. Both booksellers were somewhat optimistic for the rest of the year.

With an increase in summer sales and optimism about the coming holiday season, it seems possible trends will start to show independent booksellers may be making a comeback.