Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House LLC is an Anglo-American multinational conglomerate publishing company formed on July 1, 2013, from the merger of Penguin Group and Random House.[2][3]

Penguin Random House LLC
TypePrivate (Subsidiary)
FoundedJuly 1, 2013 (2013-07-01)
FounderMarkus Dohle
HeadquartersRandom House Tower, New York City, United States
20 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
  • Markus Dohle (CEO)
  • Thomas Rabe (Chairman)
  • Madeline McIntosh (CEO, PRH US)
  • Jim Johnston (CFO)
Revenue€4 billion (2021)[1]
Number of employees
10,000 (as of July 1, 2013

On April 2, 2020, Bertelsmann announced the completion of its purchase of Penguin Random House, which had been announced in December 2019, by buying Pearson plc's 25% ownership of the company. With that purchase, Bertelsmann became the sole owner of Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann's German-language publishing group Verlagsgruppe Random House will be completely integrated into Penguin Random House, adding 45 imprints to the company, for a total of 365 imprints.[4]

As of 2021, Penguin Random House employed about 10,000 people globally and published 15,000 titles annually under its 250 divisions and imprints.[5] These titles include fiction and nonfiction for adults and children in both print and digital. Penguin Random House comprises Penguin and Random House in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, and India; Penguin in Brazil, Asia and South Africa; Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House's companies in Spain, Hispanic America, and Germany.[6][7]

On November 25, 2020, The New York Times reported that Penguin Random House was planning to purchase Simon & Schuster from Paramount Global for $2.175 billion.[8] However, on November 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice sued to stop the deal on antitrust grounds, a suit that eventually succeeded on October 31, 2022.[9][10] The deal formally collapsed on November 22, 2022.[11]


Penguin Random House was founded on July 1, 2013, by Markus Dohle upon the completion of a £2.4 billion transaction between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin Group. Bertelsmann and Pearson, the parent companies, initially owned 53% and 47%, respectively.[12] Jane Ciabattari of Library Journal has referred to this merger as the publishing industry's response to the increasing dominance of in the book market.[13] Markus Dohle was named CEO of the new company, which had more than 10,000 employees worldwide with 250 imprints and publishing houses and a publishing list of more than 15,000 new titles a year.[7] Penguin Random House relaunched Book Country, Penguin's online writing community, on July 29, 2013.[14] On September 24, 2014, Random House Studio signed a first-look production deal with Universal Pictures, under which Random House would be the producer of films based on Penguin Random House books. The Universal subsidiary Focus Features has frequently collaborated with Random House Films.[15] Having previously created Puffin Rock animation, Richard Haines was chosen to head Penguin Random House Children's TV development strategy with the assistance of licensing, publishing, and TV development executive Emily Campan.[16]

In November 2015, Pearson announced it would rebrand to focus on its education division.[17] On July 11, 2017, Pearson sold a 22% stake in the business to Bertelsmann, thereby retaining a 25% holding.[18][19] On December 18, 2019, Bertelsmann agreed to acquire Pearson's 25% stake in Penguin Random House,[20] making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann. The sale was completed on April 2, 2020.[4] In June 2020, Penguin Random House was one of a group of publishers who sued the Internet Archive, arguing that its collection of e-books was denying authors and publishers revenue and accusing the library of "willful mass copyright infringement".[21][22]

On November 25, 2020, Penguin Random House agreed to purchase American publisher Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for $2.175 billion. A formal regulatory approval process will follow the purchase agreement.[23] On November 2, 2021, the US Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block Penguin Random House's proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster. The lawsuit alleges that the acquisition would create a publisher with too much influence over books and author payments.[24] On November 21, 2022, Penguin Random House decided to scrap the whole deal. As a result, it will have to pay a $200m termination fee to Paramount, a mother company of Simon & Schuster.[25]

Divisions and imprints


DK (Dorling Kindersley) was founded in London in 1974 and is a reference publisher focusing on non-fiction for adults and children.

  • Alpha, publishes Complete Idiot's Guides

As of 2015, DK also has official publishing relationships with Angry Birds, Lego, Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney.[26]

Crown Publishing Group

Crown Publishing was founded in 1933 as the Outlet Book Company, a remainder house, and is now a publisher of fiction and narrative non-fiction.[27] In 2018, Crown was combined with the main Random House Publishing Group.[28]

  • Amphoto Books, publishes photography books
  • Broadway Books, founded in 1996 as part of Bantam Doubleday Dell and is now the paperback imprint of Crown
  • Clarkson Potter, produces cookbooks, illustrated gift books, and journals
  • Crown Archetype, hardcover publisher of pop-culture titles
  • Crown Business, publishes business-related content
  • Crown Forum, publishes political discourse
  • Harmony Books, publishes self-help titles
  • Hogarth Press, partnership between Crown in the US and Windus in the UK
  • Convergent, Image Catholic Books (Doubleday Religion), Waterbrook & Multnomah publish Christian non-fiction and fiction titles
  • Pam Krauss Books, founded in 1915 and publishes culinary, food, and lifestyle related titles
  • Rodale Books
  • Ten Speed Press, joined Crown in 2009 as a West Coast publisher of nonfiction and gift titles
  • Tim Duggan Books, founded in 2014
  • Watson-Guptill, publishes illustrated art books as part of Ten Speed Press[29]

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

  • Alfred A. Knopf, publisher of hardcover fiction and nonfiction, founded in 1915 by Alfred A. Knopf, and Blanche Knopf. Titles under Alfred A. Knopf have won 58 Pulitzers as well as Nobel and National Book Awards.[30]
  • Doubleday, publisher of commercial, literary, and serious nonfiction founded in 1897
  • Pantheon, founded in 1942 by Kurt Wolff
  • Schocken, publisher of Judaica, became a part of Random House in 1945
  • Vintage Books, trade paperback publisher founded by Alfred A. Knopf in 1954
  • Anchor Books, publisher of history, science, women's studies, sociology and fiction
  • Vintage Español, Spanish-language publisher in the United States, founded in 1994 by Alfred A. Knopf
  • Black Lizard, also known as Vintage Crime, publisher of crime fiction, acquired by Random House in 1990
  • Nan A. Talese, literary imprint formed in 1990 to house authors published by editor Nan A. Talese
  • Everyman's Library, a series of reprinted classic literature currently published in hardback[31][32]

Penguin Publishing Group

  • Avery, publisher of nonfiction and lifestyle books founded in 1974
  • Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, contain several imprints including Jove, Signet, Ace, Roc, Sensation, and Caliber
  • DAW, publisher of science fiction and fantasy
  • Dutton, small boutique fiction and non-fiction publisher of about 40 books per year
  • Putnam, publisher founded in 1838
  • Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, established in 2010 as a boutique publisher of VP Pamela Dorman
  • Penguin, established in 1935 in the UK as a publisher of mass market paperbacks; houses Penguin Books, Penguin Classics, and most recently Penguin Press
  • Perigee, originally the trade paperback imprint for G.P. Putnam's Sons; publishes prescriptive non-fiction, self-help and how-to books
  • Plume, trade paperback imprint with a focus on multi-cultural and LGBT publishing
  • Portfolio, founded in 2001 as a business imprint
  • Riverhead, publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction founded in 1994
  • Sentinel, founded in 2003 as a conservative imprint
  • Tarcher Perigee, publisher of mind, body, and spiritualism titles
  • Viking Press, founded in 1925 and publishes both fiction and non-fiction titles[33]

Penguin Young Readers Group

Penguin Young Readers Group is a division devoted to books for young readers and young adults.

  • Dial Books for Young Readers, publishes about 70 hardcover children's books per year
  • Firebird, publishes young adult science fiction and fantasy
  • Frederick Warne, publisher founded in 1865 that develops brands based on classic children's literature such as Peter Rabbit
  • G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, publisher of picture books
  • Grosset & Dunlap, publisher of paperback series, leveled readers, nonfiction, brands, and licenses for ages 0–12
  • Kathy Dawson Books, launched in 2014 by publisher Kathy Dawson to publish hardcover middle-grade and YA fiction
  • Ladybird Books, publishes books for toddlers
  • Nancy Paulsen Books, launched in 2011 by publisher Nancy Paulsen to publish picture books
  • Philomel Books
  • Price Stern Sloan (PSS!), founded to publish the Mad Libs books in the 1960s, expanded to publish additional children's, novelty, and humor titles
  • Puffin Books, publishes books for young readers in various formats
  • Razorbill, publishes middle grade and young adult books
  • Speak, launched in 2002 to publish classic and new young adult fiction
  • Viking, publishes books for young readers[33]

Random House Publishing Group

  • Ballantine Books, founded in 1952 to publish fiction and nonfiction hardcover and paperback titles
  • Bantam Books, originally a publisher of mass-market reprints; currently publishes fiction and nonfiction in all formats
  • Delacorte Press, founded in 1921 as a publisher of pulp magazines, detective stories, and movie articles, has expanded to publish original fiction in all formats
  • Del Rey Books, branch of Ballantine Books that focuses on science fiction and fantasy titles
  • The Dial Press, literary publisher
  • Modern Library, publisher of American and international classics founded by Boni & Liveright
  • Random House, originally founded in 1927 by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, and publishes fiction
  • Heyne Publishing, a German fiction Publisher for mass-market
  • Spiegel & Grau
  • Sugar23 Books, fiction and non-fiction[34]
  • Alibi, Flirt, Hydra, and Loveswept, publish e-originals in genre fiction[35]

Random House Children's Books

  • Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, publisher of board books, picture books, novels and non-fiction
  • Bluefire, fantasy imprint for middle grade and young adult readers
  • Crown Books for Young Readers
  • Dragonfly, publishes paperback picture books
  • Ember, publishes young adult and middle grade trade paperbacks, such as titles by Judy Blume and Dana Reinhardt
  • Golden Books, picture book, novelty, and activity book publisher launched in 1900
  • Laurel-Leaf, publishes young adult literature in a mass-market format
  • Little Tiger Press, British publisher[36]
  • The Princeton Review, publishes print and digital test prep materials
  • Random House Books for Young Readers, publisher of Dr. Seuss, Babar, Magic Tree House series, Junie B. Jones, and Step into Reading
  • Random House Graphic, launched in 2018, publishes graphic novels[37]
  • Schwartz and Wade, launched in 2005 and directed by Anne Schwartz and Lee Wade
  • Sylvan Learning, publishes workbooks and study aids.[38]
  • Yearling Books, publishes middle grade paperbacks
  • Wendy Lamb Books, publisher of middle-grade and young adult fiction launched in 2002

Penguin Random House Digital Publishing Group

  • Random House Puzzles & Games
  • Sasquatch Books
  • Audiobooks
    • Books on Tape
    • Listening Library
    • Penguin Audio
    • Random House Audio
  • Reference
    • Random House Reference

Penguin Random House International

  • Companhia das Letras (70% Brazil)
  • Penguin Random House Australia
  • Penguin Random House Group (UK)
  • Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial (Spain/Portugal/Latin America)
    • Alfaguara
    • Ediciones B
    • Editorial Bruguera
    • Plaza & Janés[39]
    • Santillana Ediciones Generales[40]
  • Penguin Random House India
  • Penguin Random House New Zealand
  • Penguin Random House Canada
  • Penguin Random House Struik (South Africa)
  • Transworld Ireland
  • Verlagsgruppe Penguin Random House (Germany)[43]

Penguin Random House Publisher Services

Handling distribution and marketing for Shambhala Publications, National Geographic Books, Wizards of the Coast, Kodansha USA (including Vertical Inc.), New York Review Books, Titan Books, Other Press, North Atlantic Books, Blue Star Press, DC Comics, and Dark Horse Comics among others.

It also handles direct market distribution for Marvel Comics starting October 1, 2021 [44] and direct market distributution for IDW Publishing starting June 1, 2022.[45]

Ebury Publishing


Book Country

Book Country was a subsidiary online writing and publishing community.[46] Book Country was launched in April 2011 with a focus on romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy. On July 29, 2013, Book Country relaunched with online writing workshops in over sixty literary categories, including literary fiction, memoir, and women's fiction.[14] As of September 2013, the site had over 10,000 members.[47] As of November 2020 the site is no longer operational.


  1. "PRH Had a Record Year in 2021". Publishers Weekly. March 31, 2022.
  2. Calamur, Krishnadev (October 29, 2012). "Penguin, Random House Announce Merger". NPR. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  3. "Pearson, Bertelsmann Confirm Publishing Tie-Up". NPR. October 29, 2012. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  4. Maher, John (April 2, 2020). "Bertelsmann Now Owns 100% of Penguin Random House". Publishers Weekly.
  5. Sweney, Mark (March 22, 2021). "UK watchdog investigates Penguin owner's Simon & Schuster takeover". The Guardian. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  6. "Welcome to Penguin Random House". April 1, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  7. "CEO Markus Dohle Announces Penguin Random House Global Leadership Team" (PDF). Penguin Random House. July 1, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  8. Alter, Alexandra; Lee, Edmund (November 25, 2020). "Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  9. Brian Stelter (November 2, 2021). "Justice Department sues to stop Penguin Random House's purchase of Simon & Schuster". CNN. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  10. Alter, Alexandra; Harris, Elizabeth A. (October 31, 2022). "Judge Blocks a Merger of Big Publishers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  11. Harris, Elizabeth A.; Alter, Alexandra; Mullin, Benjamin (November 21, 2022). "A Huge Merger's Collapse Breaks a Pattern of Consolidation in Publishing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  12. "Penguin and Random House complete merger". The Telegraph. February 9, 2017. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022.
  13. Ciabattari, Jane (2013). "Now There Are 5". Library Journal. Media Source Inc. 138 (14): 26–29.
  14. Charman-Anderson, Suw (July 29, 2013). "Book Country: Developing Authors And Audiences". Forbes.
  15. Gerard, Jeremy (September 24, 2014). "Universal, Penguin Random House in 2-year First-look Pact". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  16. Whittock, Jesse (November 30, 2015). "Penguin Random House makes TV play". TBI Magazine. Informa Telecoms & Media. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  17. Cowdrey, Katherine (January 7, 2016). "Pearson rebrand to reflect 100% focus on education". The Bookseller. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  18. "Pearson sells 22% stake in Penguin Random House". BBC News. July 11, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  19. Sweney, Mark (July 11, 2017). "Pearson sells slice of Penguin for $1bn". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  20. Spahr, Wolfgang (December 18, 2019). "BMG Parent Bertelsmann to Acquire Full Stake in Penguin Random House". Billboard.
  21. Harris, Elizabeth A. (June 1, 2020). "Publishers Sue Internet Archive Over Free E-Books". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  22. Text of Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive is available from: CourtListener 
  23. Whitten, Sarah (November 25, 2020). "ViacomCBS Sells Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2 billion". CNBC. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  24. Kendall, Brent; Trachtenburg, Jeffrey A. (November 2, 2021). "Justice Department Sues to Block Penguin Random House's Acquisition of Simon & Schuster". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  25. "Penguin scraps $2.2bn deal to buy rival publisher". BBC News. November 22, 2022. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  26. "About DK". DK Publishing. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  27. McDowell, Edwin (February 8, 1990). "Nat Wartels, 88, the Chairman Of the Crown Publishing Empire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  28. Milliot, Jim. "Centrello Details Crown Reorg". Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  29. "The Crown Publishing Group". The Crown Publishing Group. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  30. Rich, Motoko (April 18, 2007). "Pulitzer Prizes – Alfred A. Knopf – Books". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  31. "Imprints | Knopf Doubleday". Knopf Doubleday. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  32. "Random House – Bertelsmann AG". Bertelsmann (in German). Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  33. "Imprints | Penguin Random House". Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  34. Grobar, Matt (April 7, 2022). "Sugar23 & Random House Partner To Launch Co-Branded Publishing Imprint Sugar23 Books". Deadline. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  35. "Our Imprints". Random House. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  36. Nawotka, Ed (March 27, 2019). "PRH Acquires U.K.'s Little Tiger Group". Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  37. Kantor, Emma (October 10, 2019). "New Venture: Random House Graphic". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  38. "Random House Children's Books". Random House. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  39. Guía de editores de España: 1990-1991 [Editors' guide Spain: 1990-1991] (in Spanish). Federación de Gremios de Editores de España. 1990. ISBN 978-84-86141-08-0. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  40. "Santillana vende Ediciones Generales a Penguin Random House para centrarse en el área educativa". El País (in Spanish). Madrid: PRISA. March 19, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  41. "Penguin Random House India acquires Duckbill Books children's publishing division". Business Insider. November 29, 2019.
  42. "Penguin Random House India acquires the book publishing assets of Duckbill". November 29, 2019.
  43. "Offices". Penguin Random House.
  44. Schedeen, Jesse (March 25, 2021). "Marvel Comics Shifts to New Distributor in Industry-Rattling Move". IGN. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  45. "IDW Publishing Expands Partnership with Penguin Random House Publisher Services in an Exclusive Multi-Year Agreement to Distribute IDW Comics Worldwide". IDW Publishing. September 17, 2021. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  46. "What's the Penguin About?". Archived from the original on June 30, 2013.
  47. "Workshopping Community Book Country Hits Membership Milestone". September 17, 2013. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013.

Further reading

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