Penguin Goes Out on High Note

In reporting its last results as an independent publisher, Penguin Group posted a 16% gain in sales, to £513 million, and a 27% rise in adjusted operating profit, to £28 million. John Makinson, chairman of Penguin Random House and former chairman of Penguin Group, said all operating units did well in the first six months. While the strong results were a bit bittersweet, he said, given the merger with Random House, everyone at Penguin was “very happy” to conclude Penguin’s run as an independent publisher with “excellent results.”

Digital Drives Amazon Quarter Sales

Total revenue at Amazon rose 22% in the second quarter ended June 30, to $15.7 billion, the same rate of gain posted in the first quarter, while operating income fell 26%, to $79 million. Sales in the worldwide media segment rose 7%, to $4.4 billion, while revenue in the electronics and other general merchandise segment jumped 28%. CFO Tom Szkutak said sales of digital units were growing very fast relative to physical units.

Book Country Launches Revamped Site

Book Country, an online writing community introduced by Penguin in 2011, outlined the features of its updated site to members of the press and book industry at a relaunch on July 22. The site made its refurbished debut on July 24. In addition to expanding the category offerings, the site now features a new online bookstore.

Guideposts Disbands Trade Books Program

Citing the difficult economy, Guideposts is disbanding its trade books program and suspending sales of its fiction and nonfiction through retail channels, effective spring 2014. The company will continue to publish fiction and nonfiction, but it will be sold only direct to consumer, as it had been until Guideposts launched its trade program in 2006.

Changes at Westview

Westview Press cut three editorial positions and moved all editorial under Grace Fujimoto. It also expanded its marketing unit, adding a new associate sales and marketing director.