Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


The World’s First Truly Global Trade Book Publishing Company?

The Penguin Random House merger comes with costs you won’t find on a price sticker

‘A wave of consolidation has snapped what made imprints distinctive.’ – Boris Kachka

Does everyone really know just what the hell an ‘imprint’ is?

Is it a ‘bought’ company that now comes under the management and rules of the ‘buyer’ company but can still fly its own flag over its published works (sort of like a consolation prize for selling out)?

Or, as WikiAnswers defines it: it is the ‘ “brand name” under which a book is published. Most major publishers have at least a few imprints. Some of these imprints are organized as subsidiaries, or “companies within a company,” with their own editorial staffs, release lists, etc. Others are strictly brand names slapped on a book purchased and edited somewhere in the corporation. (According to Wikipedia, Random House, the world’s largest English-language trade book publisher, has more than 50 imprints.)

While the above definitions may be partially accurate (?) Wikipedia probably has the ‘most’ accurate idea of a publishing house imprint simply because it is the most complicated (like all things Re legacy publishing) 🙂 :

‘In the publishing industry, an imprint can mean several different things:

  • A piece of bibliographic information about a book, it refers to the name and address of the book’s publisher and its date of publication as given at the foot or on the verso of its title page.[1]
  • It can mean a trade name under which a work is published.[citation needed] One single publishing company may have multiple imprints; the different imprints are used by the publisher to market works to different demographic consumer segments. In some cases, the diversity results from the takeover of smaller publishers (or parts of their business) by a larger company. This usage of the word has evolved from the first meaning given above.
  • It can also refer to a finer distinction of a book’s version than “edition“.[citation needed] This is used to distinguish, for example different printings, or printing runs of the same edition, or to distinguish the same edition produced by a different publisher or printer. With the creation of the “ISBN” identification system, which is assigned to a text prior to its printing, a different imprint has effectively come to mean a text with a different ISBN—if one had been assigned to it.
  • Under the UK Printer’s Imprint Act 1961,[2] which amended the earlier Newspapers, Printers, and Reading Rooms Repeal Act 1869, any printer must put their name and address on the first or last leaf of every paper or book they print or face a penalty of up to £50 per copy. In addition, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, any election material – including websites – must show the name of the promoter of the material and the name and address of the person on whose behalf it is being published.’

Actually though, imprints (and how they are or are not allowed to operate) have a greater affect on readers and writers when publishers consolidate as just happened with Random House and Penguin.

After consolidation, some companies prevent their imprints from bidding against one another for manuscripts. This results in not only lower advances for writers — ‘but also fewer options for writers to get the kind of painstaking attention — from editors, marketers and publicists — that it takes to turn their manuscripts into something valuable.’

Boris Kachka writes these details in The New York Times:

Book Publishing’s Big Gamble 

“IT’S official,” Alfred A. Knopf Sr. tweeted last week. “We’re now #PenguinRandomHouse.”

Mr. Knopf — or rather his ghostly avatar, the actual publisher havingsold his namesake firm to Random House in 1960, died in 1984 and rolled over many times since — was celebrating the largest book-publishing merger in history.

The mergerannounced last October and completed on July 1 after regulatory approval, shrinks the Big Six, which publish about two-thirds of books in the United States, down to the Big Five. HarperCollins has reportedly been flirting with Simon & Schuster, which would take it down to four. (The others are Hachette and Macmillan.)

The creation of Penguin Random House (“the world’s first truly global trade book publishing company”) is partly a response to unprecedented pressures on these “legacy” publishers — especially from Amazon, which came out on the winning end of an antitrust lawsuit over the setting of e-book prices. It is also a way to gain leverage and capital in an industry that has been turned upside down. This endgame may be inevitable, but its consequences can’t be ignored.

Consolidation carries costs you won’t find on a price sticker. Dozens of formerly independent firms have been folded into this conglomerate: not just Anchor, Doubleday, Dutton, Knopf, Pantheon, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Viking, which still wield significant resources, but also storied names like Jonathan Cape, Fawcett, Grosset & Dunlap, and Jeremy P. Tarcher. Many of these have been reduced to mere imprints, brands stamped on a book’s title page, though every good imprint bears the faint mark of a bygone firm with its own mission and sensibility.

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Acquia and Phase2 Technology Announce Powerful Pairing for Online Publishers

Real nuggets of information in this post RE a social publishing platform that is tailored to meet the needs of today’s online publishers. Check out all three main- player companies mentioned in the subject pairing, on your own, and I guarantee you will learn infinitly more about self-publishing and related resources than you knew before.

Press release from Marketwire through

Today Acquia and Phase2 Technology announce a partnership to provide packaged solutions for the OpenPublish Drupal distribution.

OpenPublish is a distribution of the popular open source Drupal social publishing platform that is tailored to meet the needs of today’s online publishers. OpenPublish taps the power of Drupal and supports everything from basic news coverage to Web 2.0 trends, social media, topic hubs and rich semantic metadata using Thomson Reuters’ OpenCalais Web Service.

The partnership combines Acquia’s support expertise with Phase2 Technology’s proficiency in developing complex Drupal solutions for online publishing and media organizations. It provides an opportunity for OpenPublish users to get support, hosting, training, and management solutions for smooth operation of OpenPublish sites. Packages include ongoing Enterprise support, Acquia Hosting designed for scale, and Drupal Remote Administration services for maintenance. These options will offer OpenPublish users a wealth of proven technology to solve challenges in the news and publishing space.

“We’ve defined a roadmap for continued development with an eye towards adding the latest innovations for the publishing industry,” said Jeff Walpole, Phase2 Technology CEO.

The recently released OpenPublish Version 2.0 builds on previous releases and includes: support for premium content; advanced multimedia support out-of-the-box, including video, audio, embedded media and image cropping; and designer-friendly template architecture.

“The OpenPublish distribution represents an important step in the evolution of the Drupal market, offering publishers an easy on-ramp when considering Drupal,” said Tom Erickson, Acquia CEO. “Our partnership with Phase2 Technology enables customers to benefit from our collective expertise in both publishing business processes and Drupal technology.”

About Phase2 Technology

Phase2 is internationally recognized for providing technology leadership on the web using open source technology including Java and the Drupal social publishing platform for clients in these practice areas: online publishing and journalism; open government and public policy; advocacy and associations; media and entertainment. Our experienced team of consultants is known for specialty in content management systems, community applications, API and open data integration, and custom application development. Phase2 practices our own AgileApproach(TM), an agile development methodology that ensures quality and time to market of our software solutions. Please visit:

About Acquia

Acquia helps organizations of all sizes build social publishing websites quickly, easily and with a lower total cost of ownership by leveraging Drupal, the open source social publishing platform that blends content and community. Our products, services and support enable companies to leverage the power, technical innovation and economic value of Drupal while simplifying the experience, removing the complexity and minimizing the risk. Please visit:

About Drupal

Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of people and organizations are using Drupal to power scores of different web sites, including community web portals, corporate web sites, Intranet applications, E-commerce applications and resource directories. The built-in functionality, combined with dozens of freely available add-on modules, will enable features such as: blogs, collaborative authoring environments, forums, podcasting, and much more. Drupal is open-source software distributed under the GPL and is maintained and developed by a community of thousands of users and developers.


Bloomberg And Wiley Forms Book Publishing Alliance – Quick Facts

An interesting tidbit of publishing business news from RTT News, Global Financial Newswires:

Bloomberg L.P. announced that John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (JW-A: News ) will be the exclusive global publisher of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek branded books to be marketed as “Bloomberg Press, a Wiley imprint.” Wiley plans to publish the content using all media platforms including print, e-books and digital.

John’s Note: What is the difference between e-books and digital? They’re both digital, are they not? I will address this in tomorrows post.

Wiley and Bloomberg will work closely to extend the Bloomberg and Businessweek brands to long-form content in books and other formats. With Wiley as the new global publisher and distributor of Bloomberg Press titles, Bloomberg and Wiley will leverage the core strengths of the Bloomberg Press imprint and bring an unparalleled selection of titles for business leaders, finance and market professionals as well as academia.

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