In an effort to give more exposure to underserved books and authors often overlooked by mainstream media, Penguin Group has launched an online network which it is calling “From the Publisher’s Office.” The network will have three “channels” -- one each for video, audio and reading.
Inside the video channel, which Penguin is calling The Screening Room, are four series that will contain a variety of different episodes. Penguin Storytime and YA Central will highlight different children’s and YA books, while Tarcher Talks will feature subjects tied to Penguin’s New Age imprint. Project Paranormal will have episodes on vampires, werewolves and other unholy subjects. The audio channel, or Radio Room, will feature audio programs built around Penguin Classics on Air, Penguin Business Thought Leaders, Penguin Audio Book Break and A Cup of Poetry. The Reading Room channel will feature a different Penguin book each month from which a new chapter will be posted each week with an interactive interview with the author in the fourth week. The channel is kicking off with Jane Green, author of Dune Road.
From the Publishers Office sits on the Penguin homepage and went live Tuesday afternoon. Penguin will promote the various series to their particular niche audiences. “It’s about narrowcasting, narrowcasting,” said Penguin president Susan Petersen Kennedy. The Tarcher Talks series, for example, will be promoted at the upcoming International New Age show and via e-newsletter as well to New Age bookstores. The two children’s series will be marketed to librarians and teachers through e-newsletters and will be a focus of Penguin's booth at ALA.
All episodes are 30 minutes, divided into smaller segments. “We didn’t want to do three-second sound bites,” Kennedy said. “We have a lot of information that we want to get out,” she continued, adding that Penguin is hopeful that an online search on Filipino history might turn up Penguin’s The Noli: Jose Rizal and the Novel that Sparked the Philippine Revolution. The entire network is being produced by existing Penguin staff, who also appear on air. Jeff Gomez, senior director of online sales and marketing, and Molly Barton, director of business development, are overseeing the network. Penguin will update the series three times a year -- following the winter, spring and fall publishing seasons -- and while the programs will have a heavy dose of new books, it will feature a mix of backlist titles as well.
All episodes have links that allow viewers to buy Penguin titles that are featured in a particular program. The channels also link to one another.