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Random House Looks Sick (and not in a Hip Phat way)

I’m beginning to see my google reader as the publishing death watch notice. Every day I wonder, who is teetering on bankrupcty today. While not on the verge of bankruptcy, Random House still looks sick and has a dismal outlook. According to the article at Publishers’ Weekly, total revenue fell 6.5% and earnings were down 20.8%. The U.S. division saw a decline in sales in the second half of 2008. The cost cutting measures even cost money. The book, Brisingr, was it’s biggest selling title with four million in sales. Random probably cannot have Peter Jackson’s movie of Naomi Novik’s books soon enough. Both sales and revenue are projected to be down in 2009.

The only positive note is that digital sales are increasing tremendously.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. DS
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 10:37:39

    Peter Jackson is going to do the Temeraire book? Very good, I guess I need to hurry up and listen to the rest.

  2. Nadia
    Mar 26, 2009 @ 08:52:10

    Without the negative impact of currency fluctuations and excluding acquisitions, revenue was roughly flat. Earnings were hurt by currency changes and higher author costs. The reorganization of Random U.S. also resulted in “significant” one-time costs.

    I don’t think Random House is as sick as people make it sound based on that from the article. The revenue was flat (once you take out the currency stuff), it had some one-time expenses (which are not expected to recur, obviously; else it wouldn’t be called “one-time”), and some crappy currency situation when USD fell.

    I’m not surprised that their 2009 outlook isn’t great either. The currency situation is going to remain poor or become worse due to Bernanke’s love of printing press (a.k.a. printing money), and the global economic situation is not expected to improve any time soon.

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