Tag Archives: Penguin

50 Biggest Publishers in the World in 2012



UK Publishing Pearson was already the world’s biggest publisher before they joined with Penguin-Random House (Bertelsmann Group, Germany). Seeing their revenues, one might wonder why they pay their authors such lousy royalties…


Rank (2011) Rank (2010) Publishing Company (Group or Division) Country Mother Corp. or Owner Country Mother Corp. 2011 Revenue in $M 2010 Revenues in $M
1 1 Pearson U.K. Pearson U.K. $8,411 $8,097
2 2 Reed Elsevier U.K./NL/U.S. Reed Elsevier Corp. U.K./NL/U.S. $5,686 $7,149
3 3 Thomson Reuters U.S. The Woodbridge Company Ltd. Canada $5,435 $5,637
4 4 Wolters Kluwer NL Wolters Kluwer NL $4,360 $4,719
5 6 Hachette Livre France Lagardère France $2,649 $2,873
6 8 Grupo Planeta Spain Grupo Planeta Spain $2,304 $2,427
7 7 McGraw-Hill Education U.S. The McGraw-Hill Companies U.S. $2,292 $2,433
8 5 Random House Germany Bertelsmann AG Germany $2,274 $3,844
9 11 Holtzbrinck Germany Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck Germany $1,952 $1,512
10 10 Scholastic (corp.) U.S. Scholastic U.S. $1,906 $1,912
11 9 Cengage Learning U.S. Apax Partners et al. U.S./Canada $1,876 $2,007
12 13 Wiley U.S. Wiley U.S. $1,743 $1,699
13 12 De Agostini Editore Italy Gruppo De Agostini Italy $1,724 $1,843
14 15 Shueisha Japan Hitotsubashi Group Japan $1,714 $1,597
15 16 Kodansha Japan Kodansha Japan $1,551 $1,498
16 17 Shogakukan Japan Hitotsubashi Group Japan $1,444 $1,441
17 33 Readers’ Digest U.S. RDA Holding Co. U.S. $1,438 $1,460
18 14 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt U.S. Education Media and Publishing Group Limited U.S./Cayman Islands $1,295 $1,673
19 19 Springer Science and Business Media Germany EQT and GIC Investors Sweden, Singapore $1,138 $1,149
20 18 HarperCollins U.S. News Corporation U.S. $1,100 (est.) $1,269
21 20 Informa U.K. Informa plc U.K. $1,069 $1,039
22 21 Gakken Japan Gakken Co. Ltd. Japan $1,043 $956
23 22 Oxford University Press U.K. Oxford University U.K. $1,004 $941
24 24 Grupo Santillana Spain PRISA Spain $936 $852
25 23 Bonnier Sweden The Bonnier Group Sweden $909 $927
26 26 Kadokawa Publishing Japan Kadokawa Holdings Inc. Japan $904 $794
27 27 Simon & Schuster U.S. CBS U.S. $787 $791
28 28 Egmont Group Denmark/
Egmont International Holding A/S Denmark $703 $792
29 29 Woongjin ThinkBig Korea Woongjin Holding Korea $685 $723
30 25 RCS Libri Italy RCS Media Group Italy $667 $805
31 31 Klett Germany Klett Gruppe Germany $594 $617
32 32 Cornelsen Germany Cornelsen Germany $558 $584
33 34 Mondadori Italy The Mondadori Group Italy $506 $549
34 35 GeMS – Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol Italy Messagerie Italiane Italy $494 $525
35 39 Lefebvre Sarrut France Frojal France $467 $430
36 36 Harlequin Canada Torstar Corp. Canada $450 $468
37 37 Sanoma Finland Sanoma WSOY Finland $446 $464
37 40 China Education and Media Group (form. Higher Education Press) China (PR) China Education and Media Group China (PR) $445 $393
39 38 Media Participations France Media Participations Belgium $442 $434
40 46 Abril Educação Brazil Abril Group Brazil $411 $308
41 47 Perseus U.S. Perseus U.S. $350 $300
42 43 Westermann Verlagsgruppe Germany Medien Union (Rheinland-Pfalz Gruppe) Germany $339 $342
43 41 La Martinière Groupe France La Martinière Groupe France $335 $377
44 44 Bungeishunju Japan n.a. Japan $331 $337
45 55 AST Russia Privately owned Russia $330 $215
46 45 Groupe Gallimard France Madrigall France $329 $320
47 42 Shinchosha Japan n.a. (privately owned) Japan $319 $364
48 49 Kyowon Korea Kyowon Korea $298 $273
49 48 Weka Germany Weka Firmengruppe Germany $282 $277
50 52 Saraiva Brazil Saraiva Brazil $267 $249

For the latest news about the publishing giants check out Publishers Weekly Financial.




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Part 2 – Author Beware of Scams !!!

Random House

Random House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In a blog article from last fall we wrote: 10 Signs, Showing You Vanity Publishing TRAPS

We stated: “Reputable trade and independent publishers don’t ask the author for money, ever”. Random House’s imprint ALIBI doesn’t do this. However, what they do is to take away all the worldwide rights to the book in any form from the author. And: they will deduct all their book production and business costs including possible legal fees, from whatever royalty the author can expect in the future. If any at all. They will not reveal these costs or being open and accountable BEFORE – and certainly likely not after – signing the contract.

John Scalzi  wrote another blog about Random House’s imprint ALIBI


“… preying on the writers, most at risk for being preyed upon, the new and the desperate. I’m wondering in what world I would think, paying authors no advances and shoving publishing expenses onto them, is somehow a reasonable business model.”

“Right here on the first page, the contract notes that ALIBI takes the exclusive right to print, publish, sell and license the contracted work, in every possible format, in whole or in part, in every language, in the entire world, for the full term of copyright ” (which is 70 years after the death of the author).

Another of John Scalzi’s points: … “transfers the cost of these services onto the most ignorant partner in the contract — which is to say, the AUTHOR. Yes, authors, I know. You are smart. But — can you tell me what “plant costs” mean? What about “conversion fees?” Can you give me a sum that you know with certainty what those costs and fees should be? Do you know how much it costs to print and bind a book? Is ALIBI printing them individually or in one large print run? How will that affect unit cost? What’s a reasonable sum for warehousing? You better know because the contract won’t tell you…”

Read John Scalzi’s article where he goes through all parts of this exploitative publishing contract and explains the disadvantages for authors in detail. 

There are more “Scam News”:
Class Action Suit for Penguin and Author Solutions?

Emily Suess, author and editor, compiled a whole index of Author House (iUniverse) complaints in her blog.  Litreactor Magazine reported last week: “Penguin’s self-publishing service, Author Solutions, is headed for the courts after it was revealed that New York law firm Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart is investigating claims that the company hasn’t been meeting it’s obligations, or worse. The company’s questionable practices have been going on for some time: a Google search turns up loads of negative experiences with the company and its subsidiaries. Described by one blog poster as “a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen” and he gave plenty evidence to support this.

Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP is currently investigating the practices of Author Solutions and all of its brands: AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, Inkubook, and Wordclay. Authors using Author Solutions have complained of deceptive practices, including enticing authors to purchase promotional services that are not provided or are worthless, failing to pay royalties, and spamming authors and publishing blogs/sites with promotional material.”

XLibris “publishing” contract outrageous!
A few days ago I got to see a contract from Xlibris, shown to me by an aspiring writer. Unbelievable what “services” they listed to justify their $3.700 plus contract, stating for example as one of their “services” the “Look Inside” function at Amazon and B&N websites! They are provided for free by these online retailers, and XLibris could be sued by Amazon and B&N for charging authors for that. We wrote and warned about Penguin’s and Simon&Schuster’s acquisition of these firms here on this blog. Now there might be a class action suit looming. If you have a case, contact the law firm here.

Be aware when you see these company names showing up somewhere: Argus, Aberdeen Bay, Algora, All Craft Media, Amereon Press, AmErica House, American Book Publishing, Anchor, Angel Press, Appaloose Press, Author Solutions, Author House, Balboa, Bookwise, Brighton, Brookline, Brundage, Cambridge House, Capri, Capricorn, Century, Challenger, Cobblestone Press, Collegiate Press, Dandelion Books, Deep River, Dorchester Publishing Dorrance, 1st Book, iUniverse, Tafford, West Bow, Xlibris…. even so some change their companies name frequently.  Ask for referrals by other writers and use the internet to do your research.

Hopefully every writer learns to prevent traps, shares these blog posts with writer friends and colleagues and gets a lawyers’ opinion before signing any of their rights away – or better: decides to author-publish. It is relatively easy to publish books, distribute and market them on your own.
Did you know that until the 1920’s authors self-published and publishing houses were a rarity? Only during the last 90 years, publishing houses established and grew bigger and bigger. Now we have a reverse of this trend and more and more books and e-books will be author-published.

Just get help with all these publishing steps and coordinate your own enterprise. We offer 3-month publishing / marketing consulting for a very small fee and will explain you in detail every step on your way to author-publishing.




If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 700 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter,, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing 111Publishing @ Google+

Don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks


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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Marketing


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Now: Penguin-Random



The New York Times wrote today that Bertelsmann, the owner of Random House, and Pearson, which owns Penguin, said that they had reached an agreement to combine the two publishing houses to create the largest consumer book publisher in the world.

It is said, the deal would give the combined companies greater scale (and a global market share of more than 25 percent) to deal with the challenges arising from the growth of electronic books and the power of Internet retailers. Google? Apple? Amazon?

Together, Penguin Random House would have a book list that includes contemporary best sellers like Random House’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Penguin’s back list of classics from authors including George Orwell. Read the article about the book publishing industry “getting smaller to get stronger”.

According to Wickipedia Pearson has quite a few imprints:  Allen LaneAveryDialDuttonDorling, Berkley BooksGrosset & DunlapLadybirdPlumePuffinPenguinPutnam,Michael JosephRiverheadRough Guides, and Viking among others.

Among Bertelmanns some 2000 subdivisions, subsidiaries, and branches are Random HouseRTL GroupGruner + JahrArvato, and BMG Rights Management.  Bertelsmann is majority owned (77.4%) by the Bertelsmann Foundation, a non-profit organisation and political think tank founded by the Mohn family. The Mohn family owns the remaining 22.6% of the company.




If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 570 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Publishing News


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Warning for “Self-Publishing” Authors


The reason I started this blog initially, was to warn authors of vanity publishers including most of the POD service companies who call themselves “publishers” – and are in reality often unutilized print shops.

The statistics are mind-boggling, but still too many writers fall into their traps: the average Author Solutions customers – writers – spend around $5,000 with the company, but only sell 150 books. Even their press releases tell it all: “150,000 writers have used the services of Author Solutions, but they have only published a combined total of 190,000 books.” This comes from Penguin’s press release who just bought Author Solutions including their subsidiaries Author House, Xlibris, Trafford and iUniverse.

$100 Million in annual revenue comes roughly at two-thirds from the sale of services to writers, and only one-third comes from the royalties generated by books sales. Which means that most of the money they made (and unfortenately will make in the future) comes from fleezing writers.

Read more about their schemes and a litany of complaints at  and on Let’s Get Digital. See also Mark Levines book: “Book Publishers Compared

I just wish that writers read articles like these and study the “Writer Beware” website, Emily Seuss’ blog article or Marcia Yudkins blog “how to sniff out scams”.  There is no shortage of warnings out there!  Read them BEFORE you make decisions about self-publishing.

What steps are necessary in self-publishing a paper book:

  • Marketing
  • Manuscript Editing
  • Book Layout
  • Cover Design
  • Printing & Binding
  • Distribution

Why I put Marketing on top of the list? Because it is the most important one and should start long before you finish your manuscript. When you followed this blog you realized that almost all of my marketing tips don’t need involvement of service providers and are free. They involve only time, but no money.

An example: How much time does it take to write a terrific press release and email it out? Two, five, eight hours? You just saved more than $1,500 plus tax, that’s what Author Solution and the like would have charged you for this task. Being on Goodreads, Wattpad, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, FB, LinkedIn, Tumblr etc. and creating a platform and a name as a writer doesn’t cost a dime. Listing your books on Bowker worldwide is free. The list how you can promote your book for free goes on an on.

Another example: How long would it take to write a query and approach these reviewers directly: Kirkwood, ForeWord and BlueInk? One hour, two or three?  Author Solutions sells these three reviews from Kirkus, ForeWord and BlueInk to writers for a whopping $ 1,155 (or $1,405 for expedited) to a package price including
“evaluating the possibilities” by MVP for $3,000 in total (all plus tax) “for writers to be discovered and have their works optioned for film or TV”.

There is more: To set up four accounts on social media, they charge authors $700. How long does it take to open an account on Twitter, Facebook etc.? Their pricing is just absurd!

You can become your own publisher and not fall into the trap of “self-publishers”, just find information how to obtain and evaluate quotes on these services. The internet is full of advice on how-to…, service provider listings, offers for all of these services – starting with the 500 posts I wrote on this blog. One third of these articles is about self-publishing and two thirds “How to Market your Book on a Shoestring” – which is also the title of an upcoming e-book I am publishing soon for independent authors. Really independent ones!

And to publish a digital version of your book, the same is true: It takes time and dedication and a willingness to put yourself out there, but if you want to write a book there’s absolutely no reason to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars getting it into the e-book market.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are almost 500 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “Like” next to it.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr or StumbleUpon – or other social networking sites of your choice) – other writers might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.


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$ 15.000 Advance? Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition


No Entry Fee !, in partnership with Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, has announced the fifth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, an international competition seeking the next popular novel.

The competition will again award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. The 2012 competition is also open to novels that have previously been self-published.

Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance. Hurry up!  Open submissions for manuscripts begin today, January 23 and continue through February 5, 2012.  Don’t delay–only the first 5,000 entries will be accepted in each category.



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BookCountry / Penguin – are they serious?


For $549 they will format your ebook / print book, and then upload it to retailers  –  or for $299 they will let you DO YOUR OWN formatting, and then they will upload the book to retailers. Huh?

Formatting ebooks / paper books is tricky and should be done by a professional – but then uploading to CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, and Apple takes about an hour for FREE and you’re done. You’re on the sales websites. Why would you pay Penguin $ 299 for one hour to upload your titles? Plus give them 30% commission on each book sold???

More details of their “publishing offer”


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Publishing vs Self-Publishing or Authors vs Publishers


In an article on self-publishing, the publisher of Portfolio, Penguin’s business book imprint, as well as Sentinel, wrote:

“The greatest challenge facing a new writer is to find readers, not to finish and print a book. Self-publishing has made the shelves even more crowded, both, virtual and physical. The obstacles to being noticed are even more forbidding, not less. In a world where anyone can upload a Word doc and call it a book, it’s more valuable than ever to have experts curate the works that are really worthy of a reader’s attention.”

(BTW: This above article excerpt had an error that I corrected! So much for curate/editing…)


Read which comments this article received:

 “Curate is an interesting term.  In my 20 years in traditional publishing I experienced very little ‘curating’.  I had books thrown into production with no editing.  I had publicity departments never return a phone call.  I also was a NY Times, WSJ, PW bestselling author, so I wasn’t some schmuck.  Yes, 99.5% of people self-publishing will fail.  But many people in traditional publishing will be looking for jobs soon because they just don’t get the digital revolution.  Agency pricing is a classic example of that. “

Laurel Saville:
Yeah, maybe, but these curators get it wrong all the time. Let’s remember how many famous authors, including Poe, Woolfe and Whitman, who self-published in order to get noticed by those same curators.  The curators told me I had a great book, the writing was “as good as it gets”, but they still wouldn’t pick it up.  If I hadn’t self-published, I never would have been noticed and then picked up by AmazonEncore myself.  Sometimes self-publishing is a means to a different end. In my case and many others, it was totally worth it.

T. More
Self-publishing is the direct line between author and reader, and most of the “gatekeepers” of traditional publishing don’t know good books. I would rather self-publish, sell books and reap most of the profits than give in to the model which has blocked literary classics from being published sooner, and caused other authors to commit suicide only to be published post mortem and hit the NY Times Bestseller list too late.



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