Penguin Random House: Best Brands Publishing UK 2016

It is the world’s largest book publisher – by far. Penguin Random House puts out nearly 15,000 new titles annually and the company’s back order catalogues include over seventy Nobel Prize winning authors. The merger of Penguin Group and Bertelsmann-owned Random House in 2013 was widely considered a strategic one designed to stop online retailer Amazon from accumulating too much power over the publishing industry.

The resulting corporate behemoth, employing over 10,000 people worldwide, is an amalgamation of hundreds of separate imprints ranging from boutique publishers releasing only a few titles a year to prestigious publishing houses such as GP Putnam’s Sons, a regular purveyor of titles to the New York Times bestsellers lists. Organised in publishing groups that bundle a sometimes surprisingly large number of vaguely related imprints, Penguin Random House is perhaps best known for its Penguin Books and the recently resuscitated Pelican Books, dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge.

Founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and based on the premise that a quality book should cost no more than a pack of cigarettes, Penguin Books revolutionised the publishing industry and set the standard for type and layout the work of the Swiss typographer Jan Tschichold whose Penguin Composition Rules, devised in 1947, still hold true.

The judging panel finds much to praise in the trajectory and achievements of Penguin Random House. Few publishers have done more to advance literature than this company. Consequently, the judges are pleased to offer Penguin Random House the 2016 Best Brands Publishing Award.

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