Penguin Reports-Growth in First Half of 2009

July 30, 2009
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July 30 – August 6, 2009 Edition

Penguin Reports Growth in First Half of 2009

NEW YORK, NY/Authorlink News/07/28/09–Penguin Group, this week reported its results for the first half of 2009. On a headline basis, sales were up 11% and operating profit down 19%. The numbers reflect the benefit of currency, notably the strength of the dollar versus the pound compared to the first half of 2008. On an underlying basis, sales were down 6% and operating profit down 23%.

Penguin delivered a resilient trading performance in challenging markets around the world. The numbers are adversely impacted by the illustrated reference market, which faced increasing pressure in the face of the economic climate which deteriorated in the second half of 2008. In addition, the comparative performance was impacted by the phasing of the publishing list with an unusually strong first half of 2008 due to Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, which shipped more than six million copies around the world during the course of 2008. These results were part of a strong overall Pearson performance.

Penguin Group Chairman and Chief Executive, John Makinson, said, “We’re pleased with our first half performance, especially when it’s viewed against the background of the exceptional start we made to 2008. We have held our own in challenging markets and are feeling extremely positive about our publishing line-up for the balance of the year.”

David Shanks, CEO, Penguin Group (USA), said, “In the US, Penguin Group (USA) outperformed the majority of its competitors amid unprecedented economic times, tough retail conditions and declining consumer spending. The company faced market challenges with confidence, enthusiasm and precision, resulting in good progress thus far this year. We achieved a reduction in returns in both our frontlist and backlist businesses. The frontlist in general remained healthy, overall the backlist business grew, and backlist market share increased, year-over-year. We also gained market share in the adult division, except in the nonfiction category, where in 2008 the company benefited from the enormous sales of Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.

“The strength of our award-winning publishing lists was reflected in our dominance of national bestseller lists. We achieved a record eighteen #1 New York Times bestsellers and placed more Penguin Group (USA) titles than ever before on the New York Times bestseller lists at the mid-year point. We are anticipating a very solid second half, with bestsellers from such authors as Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Anthony Zuiker, Nick Hornby, David Plouffe, Greg Mortenson and Andrew Weil, among many others, plus new Young Readers titles, including the first authorized sequel to Winnie the Pooh.”

The success of Penguin Group (USA)’s publishing programs is driven by its distinguished list of award-winning, bestselling authors and books across the company’s divisions, imprints and formats.

Highlights include:

Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea (Penguin), Listen to the Wind (Dial), Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition (Puffin)

Mortenson achieved three simultaneous #1 New York Times bestsellers in one week (May 24), with three different editions of Three Cups of Tea. The Penguin trade paperback edition has shipped more than 3,100,000 copies since initial publication, in February 2007, and has been a New York Times bestseller for more than two years. The Puffin Young Readers edition, with more than 300,000 copies shipped since February, and the Dial picture book, Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea, with more than 115,000 copies shipped since February, have spent the last five months on the New York Times children’s bestseller lists. Mortenson’s next book, Stones into Schools, will be published in hardcover by Viking in December.

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris (Ace)

Debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover fiction list in May, with more than 540,000 copies shipped to date. Sold more than 100,000 copies its first week of sales as booksellers across the country came back with reorders after one day. Six different Harris titles were on the New York Times mass market fiction bestseller list simultaneously for one week in January. The Ace paperback edition of From Dead to Worse debuted at #1 on the New York Times mass market paperback bestseller list in April. More than 10 million copies of the nine books in Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series are in print. A Touch of Dead: Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories will be published in hardcover by Ace in October.

Vision in White by Nora Roberts (Berkley)

PGI launched Vision in White, Book One in Roberts’s first trade paperback original series, in May, with a first printing of 950,000. Vision in White hit #1 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction bestseller list. Roberts has now achieved #1 New York Times bestsellers across all adult formats, and has been on the New York Times bestseller lists 92% of the first half of 2009 – 24 out of 26 weeks. Roberts’s Putnam hardcover Black Hills went on sale July 7th and debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. Book Two in Roberts’s Bride Quartet series, Bed of Roses, will be published in trade paperback by Berkley in November.

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow (Gotham)

More than 200,000 copies in print, through 15 printings, after an initial print run of 33,350 in April. Spent eight weeks on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list, reaching #3. Going into the second half of the year, the book is still on the New York Times bestseller list, for 12 weeks to date.

New York Times Bestseller Success for Debut Fiction Writers

Penguin Group (USA) helped turn debut novelists into national New York Times bestsellers.

Highlights include:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books/ Putnam)

More than 275,000 copies of Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel are in print, through 23 printings to date, after an initial print run of 57,300 in February. Spent 11 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and an additional seven weeks on the extended bestseller list to date. Going into the second half of the year, The Help is still on the New York Times bestseller list, 16 weeks to date. Generated international success, with foreign rights sales in 23 countries around the world, including France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the UK, among others—a remarkable achievement for a debut novel.

The Piano Teacher by Janice K. Lee (Viking)

Janice K. Lee’s debut novel was on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list for two weeks. Word of mouth for The Piano Teacher increased when an author-produced video was posted on YouTube and bookseller sites. National media coverage included a feature in Elle and reviews in O: The Oprah Magazine, Body & Soul, Good Housekeeping, People, Vogue, and Marie Claire.

Penguin Young Readers Division Achieves Sales Growth, Successfully Reaches Young Readers Online

The Penguin Young Readers Group has long been recognized for its rich, diverse, and award-winning list. A Young Readers Group priority has been attracting an audience of tech-savvy readers in an increasingly digital world, by implementing multimedia-platform marketing campaigns that spread virally, propelling titles onto the New York Times bestseller lists. The Young Readers Group has continued to successfully achieve this goal. Highlights Include:

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Viking Children’s Books)

Debuted at #1 on the New York Times children’s chapter books list. Sold more in its first day on sale than Dessen’s last novel sold in its first week, with an initial print run of 250,000. Penguin Young Readers launched Sarah-Land, a social networking community that has attracted thousands of members since March 2009. Dessen’s last previous book, Lock and Key, was #1 on the New York Times children’s chapter book list.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Razorbill)

Originally published in hardcover by Razorbill in October 2007, with an initial printing of fewer than 20,000 copies. Debuted on the New York Times children’s chapter book bestseller list in Spring 2008 and stayed on the list for five weeks, more than six months after initial publication, which prompted the decision to repackage and republish the title in hardcover in Fall 2008. The enhanced hardcover edition of Thirteen Reasons Why went on sale in October 2008, published in conjunction with a special video promotion viewed by more than 100,000 readers, and an official website. More copies of Thirteen Reasons Why were shipped in the first half of 2009 (150,575) than all of 2008 (more than 136,600). There are now over 400,000 copies of the book in print. The book has been the New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks overall. Thirteen Reasons Why has been translated into 19 languages and counting.

Penguin Group (USA) Pioneered Digital Strategies and Services

As more consumers turn to digital resources to obtain new information and content, the demand for online programs and services increases. Penguin Group (USA) launched new and promising digital marketing strategies to reach readers on all available platforms and formats.

Online Portfolio Includes:

New Online Network of Book-Related Programming

Penguin Group (USA) launched “From the Publisher’s Office,” its own online network with three channels featuring nine series of book-related programming for adults, young adults, and children. Network features several episodic online series, including “YA Central,” “Project Paranormal,” “Penguin Storytime,” “Tarcher Talks,” “Penguin Classics On Air,” “Penguin Business Thought Leaders” and “A Cup of Poetry.” All programming is original and customized for a wide range of audiences; new episodes will be produced each publishing season. Most of the content is created, written, shot, edited, and produced by PGI executives and department team members. The network attracted over 15,200 visits in its first week, and generated national media coverage.

Penguin Group (USA) iPhone App

Penguin Group (USA) is the only leading consumer trade publisher to have an iPhone app, available free from the iTunes app store, which optimizes its consumer website for mobile devices. Version 1.1 of the app, released in April 2009, features eCommerce (which enables U.S. users to buy print books directly from the iPhone) and expanded excerpt reader functionality, which includes portrait or landscape reading, automatic text reflow, five different font sizes, and page-turning animation.

Expanded eBook Lists

eBook sales continue to grow. Top-selling eBooks titles for the first half of 2009 include Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta, Nora Roberts’s Vision in White, Harlan Coben’s Long Lost, Charlaine Harris’ Dead and Gone, Clive Cussler’s Corsair, and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Penguin Group (USA) currently has 7,400 eBooks available and expects to have 10,000 titles by year’s end. Penguin Group (USA)’s eSpecials and Enriched eBook Classics programs also continue to grow.

Penguin Group (www.penguin.com), 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.

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