Penguin Random House officially merged on July 1st this year, but so far, not much has changed at either side of the company other than the formalization of the upper leadership. Employees of both companies still answer to their original chains of command and the book catalogs remain separate, at least for now.
In an article for Publisher’s Weekly on where the newly formed publishing house stands, Jim Milliot outlined exactly how distinct the company still remains, due largely in part to the need to focus on selling the fall list and moving forward through the busy back to school and holiday book buying seasons.
The first time that Penguin Random House will have the opportunity to step out as a single entity will be the October Frankfurt Book Fair, but the company will still have two separate booths at the event. According to Milliot, one of the key changes that will take place at this year’s Fair is how the publisher will bid on titles that come up for auction.
“As for acquiring new titles, the policies of the two companies have remained the same, with one exception: in auctions, Penguin editors can still make a house bid, while RH editors can bid against each other, and against Penguin, as long as there is another bidder outside of the PRH family.”
That measure would indicate that PRH plans to incorporate their planned changes very slowly, as books picked up for publication at this year’s event won’t hit shelves for as much as a year, if not longer. One of the first major changes that will take place, though, is the incorporation of all employees into one structure for employee benefits, a move that will begin in early 2014. Of course, the formal logo of the company will be unveiled around that same time.
This slow adoption of a unified structure is actually a good thing for the longevity of the company. Two publishing houses as old as Penguin and Random House, each with a large number of imprints under their brands, cannot simply be thrown together and expect to maintain the standing they’ve enjoyed for so long. By moving forward in baby steps, PRH is helping to ensure that this merger is actually beneficial for both houses.