Last November, I blogged about the possible Random House and Penguin Books merger. Or rather, the merger between German conglomerate Bertelsmann (the owner of Random House) and the parent company of Penguin (the British company Pearson). At the time, the merger had not yet been approved by the regulatory agencies. As controversial as the merger was for some, most experts thought it would be approved and that the newly named Penguin Random House would become reality.
Sure enough, it seems they might be right. One major step has made this huge merger possible. As reported by the New York Times and Publishers Weekly, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the upcoming merger. Continue reading
Random House was the first publisher’s name I learned to recognize. I didn’t know what a Random was, but I knew what a house was, and I knew Random House was the name on some of my favorite joke books — the Bennett Cerf ones. Of course, I didn’t know Bennett Cerf was one of the founders of Random House, way back in 1927. Now the Bennett Cerf riddle books are considered vintage kids’ books, and last week, we learned that the parent companies of Penguin and Random House were discussing a merger. As if that weren’t enough, there were also reports that News Corp. was trying to bid on the Penguin part of Pearson (stay that three times fast). Yes, that News Corp. — Rupert Murdoch’s company, owner of Fox News as well as Harper Collins. This would have thrown a wrench in the merger plans.
Ah, the perks of working at Chapters. During the summer, our store manager told us that all Chapters employees were invited to the Random House Fall Preview at the Hyatt Regency. Now, I don’t know about you, but this sounded pretty sweet. And they’d send us free books! Can’t say no to that. So last Sunday, I headed down to King Street West. If I had been doing a live feed, here’s what it might have looked like:
Several days prior – Receive an email confirming registration and asking us to bring a pen, since they won’t be distributing them. Okay.
11:00 – Trying to decide what to wear. Event is at posh hotel, with publishing head honchos, and Michael Ondaatje – the Michael Ondaatje. And it’s raining. Boots or heels, boots or heels? Settle on black pencil skirt and Franco Sarto maroon heels, which are comfy but don’t see much sunlight because they’re heels.
12:15 – Walk past the super discreet Hyatt entrance three times before I realize that it’s the hotel, and I only really see it because I go through Starbucks. Vaguely intimidated by heaps of shiny marble, leather cushions, running water, and really nice bathrooms.
12:20 – Head to second-floor ballroom and register, which entails getting a brochure and putting down my name, email, and Chapters store number. First inkling that it’s not quiiiiiite what I’d imagined.