November 6, 2014
Penguin Random House closes offices in France and Germany
by Kirsten Reach
The international sales restructuring at Penguin Random House is under way. The Bookseller reports that Penguin Random House is closing offices in France and Germany as it evaluates “redundancies,” everybody’s favorite thing to hear from his employer. The offices are rather small, so “up to six” jobs may be eliminated.
Penguin Random is trying to centralize its London office in 2015. The Penguin Benelux and France office (which covers Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, and France) is moving there, as is Penguin Germany. Then the London teams will take over the whole UK list in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Publishers Marketplace reports some staff changes as the company’s two new international sales teams form:
Penguin UK international sales director Dean Chance has been named PRH UK international sales director (export) and his team will sell Penguin Random House UK books internationally. Random UK’s Rob Waddington takes the broadened position of PRH international sales director (group companies), focused on trading with PRH units in Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and North America.
Random House tends to make staffing changes incrementally, so it’s hard to say right off the bat how this will affect other branches of the sales team. But there are many moving parts at the moment, including one major recent purchase. While they’re reworking the sales team after forming the biggest publishing company in the world, the conglomerate is also making some serious power plays in Europe.
Bertelsmann, which owns Penguin Random, recently bought out the sizable German publisher Gruner + Jahr, a deal that took effect on November 1. While you may not be familiar with Gruner + Jahr, it’s the largest publishing and printing firm in Europe. The company publishes Stern Magazine, Brigitte, the French and German editions of Gala, plus French, German and Dutch editions of National Geographic. It’s worth noting Gruner + Jahr’s profits are mainly in print sales, not digital sales.
Kirsten Reach was an editor at Melville House.