Random House And Penguin Form Mutant ePub Hybrid

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Call it a step in the right direction, or call it what it is… two of the “Big 5″ publishers grasping at straws because they’re EXTREMELY late to the party.

Either way, Penguin and Random House have made the decision to join forces to become, drumroll please… Penguin Random House. Pretty creative, right?

Yeah, I’m a little disappointed in the name. I was pulling for Penguin House, but what can I say? It’s not like they’re good with words or anything…

The goal of this alliance (some might call it an unholy alliance) is to gain a leverage in negotiations with Amazon, build their ebooks business, and to minimize the costs of their physical book operation through consolidation (read: downsizing): Printing, warehouses, shipping, etc.

As the ebook market explodes — it doubled last year, according to the WSJ — most of the major publishers have been slow to embrace what should be a windfall. Because digital publishing IS lucrative, just ask Amazon… or E. L. James.

ePublishing not only makes sense from a technology standpoint, but from a cost/benefit perspective as well. Sure, printing and transporting paper books has obvious costs built-in, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that publishers often have to buy back the unsold books left at bookstores!!

So you might expect that publishers would embrace a format that reduces the cost of bringing a book to market… and reduces the risk of returns. Instead, they fought it.

Sadly, it’s all too reminiscent of the music industry’s begrudging reaction to digital. A decade later, the music publishing business is just starting to get back on its feet.

Hopefully, the ePub revolution will lead to a renaissance for up-and-coming authors, not the dark ages. I did notice that there was no mention of self-publishing in the WSJ piece.


About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
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  • John says:

    The cost of self publishing is why Amazon developed CreateSpace. It gives you exactly the print-on-demand service self publishers crave. More info here:


  • Dave says:

    “EXTREMELY” late to the party, – yeah and when they do turn up, the have tin of beer with them, what about ‘self-publishing’? As soon as I dare look at a price quote to publish my book, they’re are straight on you, good in some respects, put not so good, when after all what I am being told is that ‘they have a deal’ with the Peguin group and that if I self publish via them, then I may get a chance of getting published by Penguin. So it’s being used as a marketing ploy to authors like me, a carrot on a stick, that I’ll think you’ll find it’s much more lucrative having your tenticles in all these small self publishing houses and playing on the high hopes most writers tend to have for what they have created. All I want is a Pay as you Go service, I submit a book, it’s printed at a fair price and that I don’t have to order 100,000 to then get the price down to where it might be then possible to make a decent profit, as some of these self publishing houses are not cheap!!

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