Publishing saw upheaval in 2020, but 'books are resilient'
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)NEW YORK – Book publishing in 2020 was a story of how much an industry can change and how much it can, or wants to, remain the same. To its benefit and to its dismay, publishing was drawn into the events of the moment. Penguin Random House, among other initiatives, asked all employees to read Ibram X. Kendi’s “How To Be an Anti-Racist.” Kendi later presided over a company town hall. Macmillan CEO Don Weisberg, who cited a wide range of diversity programs at the publishing house that began before “American Dirt,” said he “understands the skepticism." The CEO of Penguin Random House U.S., Madeline McIntosh, noted how well book publishing could meet the public's needs during the pandemic and other events of 2020.
Bertelsmann's Penguin division snaps up Simon & Schuster
BERLIN – German media giant Bertelsmann said Wednesday that it is buying publisher Simon & Schuster, further expanding its existing U.S. portfolio that already includes the number one American publisher Penguin Random House. “Simon & Schuster strengthens Bertelsmann’s footprint globally, and (particularly) in the U.S., its second-largest market,” the Guetersloh-based company said in a statement. The purchase of Simon & Schuster reduces the so-called Big Five of American publishing — which also includes HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan — to four. But Penguin Random House chief executive Markus Dohle told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Simon & Schuster would retain its editorial independence and that individual imprints within Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster could continue to compete with each other for book deals. The German conglomerate, which was founded in 1835 and also owns a broad portfolio of broadcast, music and online businesses, has been the sole owner of Penguin Random House since April.