Random House will have a good fiscal 2010 spurred by a strong fourth quarter, chairman Markus Dohle told employees in his annual year-end letter. As has become his style, Dohle emphasized the global aspects of Random’s operations, and the success of the company’s rapidly expanding digital businesses. Digital sales are expected to be up 250% in 2010 with Dohle noting that in the U.S. this fall, e-book sales accounted for nearly half of the first week sale of certain titles.
Sticking to his global theme, Dohle wrote that “in the world’s two largest book markets we’ve published 2010’s biggest-selling nonfiction books: George W. Bush’s Decision Points and Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab by former German Federal Bank member Thilo Sarrazin, both million-copy-plus titles in the U.S. and Germany, respectively. Also released this fall, the hugely successful A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair, which set sales records upon its publication in the U.K., and is also a major international bestseller. La Caida de Los Gigantes by Ken Follett, published by Random House Mondadori, is 2010’s biggest-selling Spanish-language novel. Cutting across territories has been the Stieg Larsson trilogy, on track to sell 14 million copies in multiple formats in the U.S. and 2 million in trade paperback and e-books in Germany.
Although he offered no predictions for 2011, Dohle expects big gains in digital sales worldwide, “with the coming proliferation of e-reading devices and e-bookstores in Germany, the U.K., Spain, and Latin America,” and for continued strong sales of 2010 releases by Lee Child, Umberto Eco, Nora Ephron, Ina Garten, John Grisham, Stephen Hawking, Laura Hillenbrand, Lauren Kate, Nigella Lawson, Tim Mälzer and Eckart Witzigmann, Barack Obama, Terry Pratchett, and Jay-Z.
Dohle closed by noted that while the publishing business is in the middle of sweeping changes, “our mission as book publishers remains the same: to bring the best stories to our readers, no matter the format. And with the emergence of new formats and new channels by which authors and their works can be accessed and discovered, our experience and expertise in every step of the publishing process have now become even more essential in our task of getting the stories we believe in to the largest potential readership.”