Ann Godoff has finalized her debut list at Penguin, which features the results of an "unprecedented acquisition" of 13 authors, many of whom were under contract with Random House. The company also revealed that Godoff's imprint will be called Penguin Press.

The announcement was notable for the en bloc purchase of contracts that resided with another house. But the list, which will be published in winter 2004, is not as blockbuster as some had expected: while it features the likes of Ron Chernow, Ken Auletta, Lawrence Lessig and former basketball coach Dean Smith, it also has some big omissions, including name authors Caleb Carr, Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl. Godoff later confirmed that Pollan will make Penguin his new home and will be featured on an upcoming list.

The release marked another chapter in a story that has seen authors moving among three houses in numbers and with a fluidity rarely seen in the industry. Random editor-in-chief Dan Menaker is bringing a handful of well-known authors with him from HarperCollins, including Elizabeth Strout, who came with him from Random when he made his first switch. And Penguin stressed that the announcement is merely the beginning.

"Ann has enough authors [right now] to fill up two more lists," said Penguin president Susan Petersen Kennedy. Sources indicated that at least half of Random's 65 authors will, when all is said and done, likely have made their way to Godoff's imprint. "We really wanted to create books that will sell forever," Kennedy said, adding that this was the reason why the name Penguin Press was chosen for the new imprint, as well as the reason many of the books will be published in paperback by Penguin Books.

Menaker, who officially began at Random last week, said that, while he felt saddened to be losing some of these authors, he remained unconcerned. "For the next two or three years, we have many great books in the pipeline," he said, and added that defections would give him a chance "to contribute to the nature and sensibility of this list." He also said that, despite the industry's belief that he was hired, in part, for his power to reassure, he sees his role in retaining authors as small. He summed up his philosophy as "I don't want to publish anyone who doesn't want to be here. I desperately want to publish the authors who do."

Those with relationships with both Menaker and Godoff described the announcement, and Menaker's eventual signings (he is reportedly on the verge of several noteworthy acquisitions), as critical to both editors—but for different reasons. "This inaugural list is very important for Ann. She needs to prove it wasn't the Random colophon that brought her success," said L.A. agent Bonnie Nadell. The size and type of Menaker's initial purchases, she said, will also be scrutinized. "He's not supposed to buy precious literary novels," as he did, to a degree, at his previous publishing jobs. "He's supposed to buy big nonfiction."