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Penguin Merges Berkley Into Putnam/Dutton

14 January 2016

From Publishers Weekly:

In what looks to be a response to declining mass market sales, Penguin has merged its Berkley imprint into the unified Putnam and Dutton group.

Ivan Held, previously named president of the merged Putnam and Dutton imprint, will now take over the direction of the Berkley Publishing Group. As a result of the changes, Leslie Gelbman, president of Berkley Publishing Group, is leaving the company at the end of January. Gelbman has been with the house for 27 years.

. . . .

On its surface the changes look as though PRH is trying to cut back its number of mass market titles, which have lost much of their market share to e-books. But, when asked about this, McIntosh emphasized that Berkley remains “committed” to publishing mass market paperbacks, while continuing to “refine the size of the list in order to ensure optimum results per title.”

When PW asked a Penguin spokesperson about the house’s strategy with mass market paperbacks, especially in light of the fact that they continue to decline in sales, the source said it would be “premature to definitely declare such a reduction today.” The spokesperson continued: “We will continue to review our mass market publishing program closely, in line with the distribution channels currently available for them.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Valerie for the tip.

PG says this looks like another attempt by a publisher to consolidate its way to viability. He hopes not too many authors are orphaned in the process.

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9 Comments to “Penguin Merges Berkley Into Putnam/Dutton”

  1. Not only authors suffer at times like these. In previous shake-ups editors have lost their jobs as well. A friend of mine lost both his editor AND his publisher in a Big Six (at the time) shake up and was himself orphaned as a result.

    It’s a brutal business.

  2. And Penguin is more brutal than most.

    • Smart Debut Author

      Penguins have a tried and true technique for seeing if the water’s safe.
      When a crowd of ’em stands at the edge of a floe, uncertain if predators are lurking in the water below, the rest shove the weakest penguin in to see what happens.

  3. I had a three-book deal with Berkley they had great faith in. Bertlesmann took over. “We’re not interested in this.”
    Sent to the pulper instead of bookstores.

  4. And another one gone, and another one gone, and another one bites the dust.

  5. this decision likely came from bertalsmann & cabal. There were editors and assistant everything under each person fired, persons who protected those people and their jobs. Yet to come: Wait for gushes of blood soaking through the ceiling. These small leavetakings, [esp to those who have been there for decades] arent even the half of it

  6. Uh, oh. Here come the pink slips for the editors and other staff members.

    • you are correct James.

      If one follows the action once Random swallowed the penguin, the disassembling of it from its highest ranks began, well over a year ago. The list of bodies at the side of the road is vast, with more to come. It’s truly weird to watch that demolition of a once freesstanding company

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