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PRH Buys Rodale Books Assets

10 January 2018

From Publishers Weekly:

After completing its purchase of Rodale Inc. last week, the Hearst Corp., which announced the deal in October, quickly turned around and sold Rodale’s trade book publishing assets to Penguin Random House. Terms of the acquisition, which involves more than 2,000 backlist titles and 100 frontlist books, were not disclosed.

With the purchase, Rodale Books’ adult nonfiction titles will be released under the Rodale Books imprint. It will become part of the Crown Publishing Group, and will be an imprint of its Illustrated and Lifestyle division, comprised of the Harmony, Ten Speed Press, and Clarkson Potter publishing programs, overseen by Aaron Wehner, senior v-p of the unit’s imprints.

. . . .

It wasn’t clear if any Rodale employees will be making the move to Crown. A PRH spokesperson said the company’s priority is to publish Rodale’s frontlist and backlist books “with care and enthusiasm.”

. . . .

For an interim period, Rodale’s staff will assist with the transition.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

The release of this news is a good time for PG to remind Rodale authors and other authors who have signed publishing contracts that did not include written versions of the promises, proposals, etc., that were discussed prior to signing that those promises are almost certainly not enforceable against PRH.

As indicated in the OP, it sounds like some or all of the Rodale people will be fired, so any moral obligation to do something for an author that the original Rodale editor might feel is also out the window. The new PRH editor may or may not care as much about your book as the departed Rodale editor did.

Since the typical publishing contract with a traditional publisher ties up an author’s book for the full term of the copyright (the rest of the author’s life plus 70 years), PRH may sit on an author’s book for a long time or issue a quick and dirty ebook only version with no promotion if the publishing agreement requires “publication” within a certain period of time, etc.

The OP is also a reminder that the typical publishing contract can be sold or transferred to another publisher, including a publisher the author specifically did not want to work with.

Big Publishing, PG's Thoughts (such as they are)

6 Comments to “PRH Buys Rodale Books Assets”

  1. The danger of being on a leash/under contract is that you have no control over who your keeper/master might sell you to. (Funny, I actually used that in a story, giving up control means giving up freedom and the other way around.)

  2. Well, the randy Penguin has their next quarterly financials sewn up. No problem reporting increased sales.

  3. Terrence P OBrien

    Pay no attention to the boiler plate stuff in contracts. It’s just there to keep the ambulance chasers and bean counters happy. And what do they know about writing? They probably don’t even read that much.

  4. My deepest sympathies to those writers. It feels like a friend’s loved one has died.

  5. Well, this is going to suck for those writers under contract to Rodale. Sort of reminds me why I have no interest in a trad contract arrangement.

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