Feb 27 – Mar 4, 2012 Edition Penguin Posts Record Profits in 2011

New York, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/February 27, 2012–Penguin, the international publishing company, today announced its 2011 results reporting sales of £1,062m and operating profit of £113m, representing underlying growth of 1% and 8% respectively. 

The company gained share in its three largest markets, the US, UK and Australia, despite very demanding trading conditions and the collapse of two important customers, Borders and the REDgroup.  These outstanding results were the product of great publishing across the board at Penguin; continued growth at DK, helped by its unique licensing program; and a continued emphasis on product and channel profitability.

These results were part of Pearson’s 2011 results announcement

Penguin Chairman and CEO John Makinson, said: “This is the most turbulent book market that anyone can remember.  In spite of this, we have increased both our sales and our profits.  This remarkable achievement has been driven by excellent publishing around the globe, demonstrated by market share growth in our three biggest markets, and innovation in every aspect of our digital publishing.”  

Penguin Group (USA) CEO David Shanks said, “Penguin US had another successful year. We increased our sales, profits and margins, with contributions from every division of the company, despite the collapse of Borders and other marketplace challenges.  Our eBook sales doubled, we expanded our digital publishing programs, and we won a Pulitzer Prize for the second year in a row.  We had more bestsellers than we’ve ever had in a single year. We maximized the success of our brand name authors while discovering and launching the careers of new writers. Penguin’s backlist continued to do well. Our long-running imprint strategy again yielded good results, with our newest imprint, Blue Rider Press, landing three books on The New York Times bestselling books in its first season.  Our Young Readers division had an outstanding year. And strategic investments in new processes improved our overall efficiency.  Looking ahead, we have an exceptional 2012 publishing list.”

In 2011, Penguin US’s books and authors continued to win awards, find new readers, and shape the national conversation, while articulating the human experience and entertaining people everywhere.  The company discovers and nurtures its authors and distributes its books widely across all formats (physical, digital, and audio), and Penguin’s ongoing partnership between writers and readers remains healthy.


1. Increased sales

Penguin Group (USA) increased its sales across all imprints, despite an uncertain economy and industry challenges, with particularly strong results from the Young Readers division. Penguin published new books from such bestselling authors as Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Nora Roberts, Harlan Coben, Catherine Coulter, John Sandford, Clive Cussler, Charlaine Harris, Tami Hoag, Sue Grafton, John Grisham, Eric Carle and Sarah Dessen, among many others. And Penguin put many debut authors on bestseller lists across the country: Deborah Harkness, Amor Towles, Eleanor Brown, and Ruta Sepetys. The ongoing strength and resiliency in the marketplace of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Ken Follett’s books contributed to the company’s performance. Penguin’s extensive backlist, which includes such perennial favorites as Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Flies, also contributed to the company’s good results.

2. Increased profits

Penguin’s increase in profits in 2011 was driven by strong book sales across the company and fueled by strategic investments in new technology, the internal development and training in new tools, and improvements in business processes. With programs such as digital workflow, Penguin CORE, an in-house media suite, satellite media tours, and new title management systems, Penguin continued to produce high-quality products ever more efficiently.

3. Doubled eBook revenues

eBook revenues doubled in the U.S. in 2011. The Help by Kathryn Stockett sold five times as many ebook units across all accounts in 2011 as it did in 2010.

In 2011, Nora Roberts and Charlaine Harris each passed a million eBook units sold for all their titles across all accounts.

Our eBooks sold well across a wide range of genres and subjects, from romance and thrillers to literary fiction and serious nonfiction. The reach of eBooks has expanded; we recently sold our first eBook in Antarctica.

4. Continued success of imprint strategy with the launch of Blue Rider Press

Penguin Group (USA)’s successful imprint strategy continued in 2011 with the launch of Blue Rider Press, David Rosenthal’s new imprint.

Blue Rider Press had three of its first four titles become New York Times bestsellers: The End of Normal by Stephanie Madoff Mack, The New New Rules by Bill Maher, and Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd (the pseudonym for award-winning children’s author David Milgrim). Headed by president and publisher David Rosenthal, Blue Rider is an eclectic, innovative new imprint, focusing on books in a variety of areas, chosen by Rosenthal and his staff for their commercial and literary qualities—and each notable for Blue Rider’s specific vision of how these titles can be successfully published in this uncertain time.

5. Broadened its international reach through expanded partnership with Brazil’s Companhia das Letras and more Spanish language publishing

In 2011, Penguin acquired a 45 percent interest in Companhia das Letras, a highly regarded Latin American publishing house. Founded by Luiz Schwarcz in 1986, Companhia das Letras has just celebrated its twenty-fifth year. In its twenty-five year history it has published nearly 3,500 titles by 1,300 authors, with a primary focus on maintaining an editorial line based on quality – of both the writing and design – raising the bar for Brazilian publishing.

In 2010, Penguin launched the successful Penguin Classics partnership to publish in Portuguese for the Brazilian market with Companhia. We now have 35 titles in print under the Penguin Companhia Classicos imprint. The expanded partnership is a natural extension of Penguin and Companhia’s common values and experience working together.

C. A. Press, Penguin Group (USA)’s new Spanish-language imprint, led by publisher Carlos Azula, focuses on current events, novels, and cookbooks, as well as inspirational and self-help books, for readers in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. C. A. Press successfully launched its first titles in 2011. Ciudadania Americana, a guide to the US Citizenship Test, includes an audio CD, allowing readers to practice their pronunciation and learn more about the test, and became the #1 selling Spanish title at Walmart. C. A. Press also introduced a new children’s bilingual series called Ladybird Read It Yourself.

6. Won the Pulitzer Prize and other awards

Penguin Group (USA) won a Pulitzer Prize for the fifth time in the last seven years, with Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow winning the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Penguin had two National Book Awards finalists: Viking’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable in the Nonfiction category and Dial Books for Young Readers’ Chime by Franny Billingsley in the Young People’s Literature category.  

7. More New York Times bestsellers than ever before

Penguin Group (USA) had more New York Times bestsellers in 2011 than any previous year with 254.

Young Readers increased market share and New York Times bestsellers

Penguin Young Readers Group had 41 New York Times bestsellers in 2011, an all-time high for the children’s division. Contributing to this success and market share growth were new titles from bestselling authors, several notable debuts, and backlist titles. In 2011, Penguin Young Readers group published books by Eric Carle, John Grisham, Ally Condie, Jan Brett, Tomie de Paola, Anna Dewdney, Andrea Cremer, Judy Schachner, Jay Asher, John Bemelmans Marciano, Richelle Mead, Sarah Dessen, John Flanagan, Ruta Sepety, Elizabeth Berkley, Harlan Coben, Meg Wolitzer, Maile Meloy, and many others.

The imprint G. P. Putnam’s Sons led the industry in hardcover bestsellers

G. P. Putnam’s Sons had an industry-leading 34 New York Times hardcover bestsellers, more than any individual hardcover imprint, an accomplishment Putnam has achieved every year for more than 25 years. In 2011, Putnam published bestsellers from Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Katherine Stockett, Robert B. Parker, Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts, J.D. Robb, John Sandford, Sue Grafton, Robert Crais, Betty White, Catherine Coulter, Stuart Woods, Amanda Quick, Alex Berenson, W.E.B. Griffin, Jayne Ann Krentz, and many others.

Berkley/NAL Led the Industry in mass market bestsellers

Berkley/NAL continued to be the #1 mass market publisher in the industry, while also publishing bestsellers in hardcover and trade paperback, with 73 New York Times mass market bestsellers. In 2011, Berkley/NAL published books by Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Anne Bishop, Catherine Anderson, Victoria Laurie, Nalini Singh, Patricia Briggs, Jen Lancaster, J.R. Ward, Sarah Blake, Karen White, Chloe Neill, and many others.

8. Maximized brand name authors

Penguin Group (USA) published many of the biggest selling books of 2011 in the U.S. market. The Group continued to successfully execute its strategy of maximizing multimillion–copy books and authors, including Kathyrn Stockett, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Ken Follett, Noraq Robers, Sue Grafton,Harlan Coben, Charlaine Harris, John Sandford, Clive Cussler, Laurell K. Hamilton, Tami Hoag, J.R. Ward, Robert Crais, Julie Garwood, Catherine Coulter, W.E. B. Griffin, and Stuart Woods

9. Discovered and successfully launched new authors

In 2011, Penguin Group (USA) introduced readers to a number of new authors whose books hit The New York Times bestseller lists

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Viking). The first novel in the All Soul’s Trilogy by an award winning University of Southern California history professor went back to press three times in its first week on sale in February and debuted at #2 on The New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list, where it stayed for eight weeks. The book generated rave reviews from traditional media as well as online media outlets and along the author’s national book tour. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Viking) was a New York Times bestselling, widely heralded literary debut by a principal at an investment firm in Manhattan. The book made nine “Best Fiction of 2011” lists from The Wall Street Journal’s to The Atlantic’s to Amazon’s. Published over seven months ago and still selling strong, it remains on The Los Angeles Times’ list. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam) was a successful debut novel in 2011, hitting The New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list and earning rave reviews in many major publications. It was chosen by Amazon as one of its "Best Books of 2011." For the third year in a row, Amy Einhorn Books has had a debut bestseller, following 2010’s The Postmistress by Sarah Blake and the 2009 debut of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel) debuted at #8 on The New York Times children’s chapter books bestseller list. It was a New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2011, a Book-of-the-Month Club Blue Ribbon Selection (the first time a YA novel has been chosen), a Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book, a New York Times Notable Book, an ALA Notable Book, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2011, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2011, a Booklist Best Book of 2011, and a Kirkus Best Book of 2011. Sepetys was also awarded the Prix RTL-Lire, a French prize for the best novel for young people, for Between Shades of Gray, the first time an American has received this honor.

Penguin Group (, one of the world’s largest English-language trade book publishers, has established divisions and key market positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, China, South Africa, New Zealand, and Ireland.  The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.