In a year-end letter to Hachette Book Group staff, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch looked back on a year of growth, citing new imprints such as Little, Brown Voracious, an illustrated book line; Hachette Go, a health and self-help imprint; and a growing list of original graphic novels coming from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Pietsch wrote that profits and revenues “were up industry wide,” and pointed to “another year of growth for downloadable audio.” HBG titles, he said, generated “a huge number of bestsellers and prizes, and excellent financial results from our publishers.”
HBG has also worked to expand its digital marketing capabilities, Pietsch said, and spent the year working to improve its Aurora title-management system, which will give the house new capabilities for planning. Pietsch added that “our warehouse team has been working to bring in eco-friendly technologies, and we will launch a new carton system this year that eliminates plastic and makes our packaging entirely recyclable." In addition, HBG distribution added a significant new client last year, Lonely Planet the travel guide book publisher.
Pietsch noted a number of new HBG executives who he said had “strengthened out senior publishing leadership,” among them senior v-p and chief marketing officer Wibke Gutjen, Hachette Nashville v-p and publisher Daisy Hutton, and v-p and publisher of Hachette Books Mary Ann Naples. He also pointed to lessons learned from a recent HBG employee opinion survey, which include efforts to create better links between the eight HBG offices. "We will also continue our focus on diversity, on compensation, and on work/life balance, and will announce an expansion of our work-from-home program shortly," Pietsch wrote.
He added: “With our focus always on the excellence of our books, we will continue expanding the range of our publishing, the ways we originate books, and the ways we connect writers with readers. The executive management board has been working hard on new publishing, marketing, and business initiatives, and we look forward to announcing them in the months ahead.”