Well, it’s a logical enough name… Pearson and Bertelsmann have confirmed plans to merge book publishers Penguin and Random House into a new joint venture, Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann will own 53% and Pearson 47%. Digital disruption was cited as one of the key motivations for the merger.
Pearson boss Marjorie Scardino talking about the new entity’s ability to “be more adventurous in trying new models in this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers”, and Bertelsmann’s Thomas Rabe referring to plans to “publish even more effectively across traditional and emerging formats and distribution channels”.
Both publishers have been keen to innovate in the book-apps space in particular. Penguin has worked with startup Made In Me on a pair of branded Me Books apps, produced a series of Ladybird apps for children, and worked with partners including Moshi Monsters and Jamie Oliver.
Meanwhile, Random House was behind innovative apps for A Clockwork Orange, The Magic of Reality, Nigella Lawson, Jay-Z Decoded and the Doctor Who Encyclopaedia.
Here’s hoping that the inevitable period of uncertainty following any merger of this size won’t impede the publishers’ digital innovation in the coming months.