As part of its record year in 2008, Penguin USA reported that 13 of its imprints had #1 New York Times bestsellers last year, and CEO David Shanks noted that the gains posted by the company were throughout the company's various divisions, including mass market paperback and trade paperback. As it is currently organized, Penguin is divided into three large groups—adult, Penguin Young Readers Group and multimedia. Although it has not made a major acquisition in several years (“we're not the most acquisitive company,” said chairman John Makinson), Penguin has added a number of new imprints in recent years. Amy Einhorn Books, founded in 2007, last month released its first title, The Help. Celebra released its first titles written by or about Hispanic and Latin American authors/celebrities last year, while the debut titles in Pamela Dorman Books/Viking are due out later this year.
To house its growing digital operations, Penguin created Penguin eBooks; the company's e-book sales jumped 500% in 2008 and “are getting closer” to accounting for 1% of total revenue, Shanks said. Penguin now has 6,400 titles available as e-books. Mass market paperback publishing is centered in the various Berkley and New American Library imprints, and Shanks said the format did well last year, led by Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series, the basis for the HBO series True Blood. G.P. Putnam's Sons had another strong year in hardcover publishing, and Ann Godoff's Penguin Press imprint made a solid contribution, Shanks said.
For 2008, all of Penguin had a 7% sales increase, to £903 million ($1.67 billion), and operating profit increased 26%, to £93 million, giving the company a 10.3% operating margin. A double-digit margin has been one of Penguin's long-term goals, and Makinson said it was “very pleasing” to hit the target given the difficult conditions “on both sides of the Atlantic, which only got worse as the year went on.” He acknowledged that results benefited from a strong dollar, but noted that even without the currency gain, revenue was up 3% and earnings up 4%.
Both Shanks and Makinson were cautiously optimistic about prospects for 2009. Makinson said Penguin is prepared for a tough year in which sales growth in all its markets is likely to be flat at best. Still, Penguin will continue to make all necessary investments to move the business forward and will look for opportunities to “recruit people and authors” from publishers that are having a more difficult time. Shanks noted that the U.S. will face difficult comparisons to last year's first half, but was hopeful the company's strong publishing lineup will result in another solid year.
AveryBerkley (Ace, Prime Crime, Caliber)Celebra*DuttonGotham Books*G.P. Putnam's SonsAmy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's SonsMarian Wood Books/G.P. Putnam's SonsHudson Street PressNew American Library (NAL, Roc, Caliber)The Penguin PressPortfolio*Riverhead BooksSentinel*Jeremy P. Tarcher*VikingPamela Dorman Books/VikingViking Studio
Alpha BooksBerkley (Ace, Prime Crime, Caliber, Heat)HP BooksNAL (Roc, Obsidian, Caliber)Penguin BooksPenguin ClassicsPerigee**PlumePrentice Hall PressRiverhead Trade Paperbacks
Berkley (Berkley, Jove, Ace, Prime Crime, Sensation, Heat)New American Library (NAL, Roc, Obsidian, Onyx, Signet, Signet Classics, Signet Eclipse)
* Also publishes trade paperbacks
** Also publishes hardcovers
Penguin Young Readers Group
Dial Books for Young ReadersDutton Children's BooksFirebirdFrederick WarneG.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young ReadersGrosset & DunlapPhilomel BooksSpeakPrice Stern SloanPuffin BooksRazorbillViking Children's Books
Penguin AudioPenguin eBooks (including Penguin Enriched eBook Classics and Penguin eSpecials)