Penguin Group Reports a Good Performance for the First Half of 2009

New York, New York, July 27, 2009 ... Penguin Group, the international publishing company, today reported its results for the first half of 2009. On a headline basis, sales were up 11% and operating profit down 19%. These numbers reflect the benefit of currency, notably the strength of the dollar versus the pound compared to the first half of 2008. On an underlying basis, sales were down 6% and operating profit down 23%.

Penguin delivered a resilient trading performance in challenging markets around the world. The numbers are adversely impacted by the illustrated reference market, which faced increasing pressure in the face of the economic climate which deteriorated in the second half of 2008. In addition, the comparative performance was impacted by the phasing of the publishing list with an unusually strong first half of 2008 due to Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, which shipped more than six million copies around the world during the course of 2008. These results were part of a strong overall Pearson performance.

Penguin Group Chairman and Chief Executive, John Makinson, said, "We're pleased with our first half performance, especially when it's viewed against the background of the exceptional start we made to 2008. We have held our own in challenging markets and are feeling extremely positive about our publishing line-up for the balance of the year."

David Shanks, CEO, Penguin Group (USA), said, "In the US, Penguin Group (USA) outperformed the majority of its competitors amid unprecedented economic times, tough retail conditions and declining consumer spending. The company faced market challenges with confidence, enthusiasm and precision, resulting in good progress thus far this year. We achieved a reduction in returns in both our frontlist and backlist businesses. The frontlist in general remained healthy, overall the backlist business grew, and backlist market share increased, year-over-year. We also gained market share in the adult division, except in the nonfiction category, where in 2008 the company benefited from the enormous sales of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth.

"The strength of our award-winning publishing lists was reflected in our dominance of national bestseller lists. We achieved a record eighteen #1 New York Times bestsellers and placed more Penguin Group (USA) titles than ever before on the New York Times bestseller lists at the mid-year point. We are anticipating a very solid second half, with bestsellers from such authors as Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Anthony Zuiker, Nick Hornby, David Plouffe, Greg Mortenson and Andrew Weil, among many others, plus new Young Readers titles, including the first authorized sequel to Winnie the Pooh."

Penguin Group (USA) First-Half 2009 Highlights

1. Outstanding Bestseller Performance

Penguin Group (USA)'s strong performance on the New York Times bestseller lists includes several industry-leading and house-record highlights:

  • PGI achieved a record 18 #1 New York Times bestsellers, an industry best, across all formats, surpassing its previous record.
  • PGI dominated the New York Times bestseller list with five #1 bestsellers simultaneously in a single week, a record unmatched in the industry year-to-date.
  • PGI placed more books than ever on the New York Times bestseller lists:
    139 titles; 18 at #1.

2. Solid Performance Driven by Excellent Publishing Lists, Across All Formats

The success of Penguin Group (USA)'s publishing programs is driven by its distinguished list of award-winning, bestselling authors and books across the company's divisions, imprints and  formats.

Highlights include:

Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea (Penguin), Listen to the Wind (Dial), Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition (Puffin)

  • Mortenson achieved three simultaneous #1 New York Times bestsellers in one week (May 24), with three different editions of Three Cups of Tea.
  • The Penguin trade paperback edition has shipped more than 3,100,000 copies since initial publication, in February 2007, and has been a New York Times bestseller for more than two years.
  • The Puffin Young Readers edition, with more than 300,000 copies shipped since February, and the Dial picture book, Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea, with more than 115,000 copies shipped since February, have spent the last five months on the New York Times children's bestseller lists.
  • Mortenson's next book, Stones into Schools, will be published in hardcover by Viking in December.

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris (Ace)

  • Debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover fiction list in May, with more than 540,000 copies shipped to date.
  • Sold more than 100,000 copies its first week of sales as booksellers across the country came back with reorders after one day.
  • Six different Harris titles were on the New York Times mass market fiction bestseller list simultaneously for one week in January.
  • The Ace paperback edition of From Dead to Worse debuted at #1 on the New York Times mass market paperback bestseller list in April.
  • More than 10 million copies of the nine books in Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series are in print.
  • A Touch of Dead: Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories will be published in hardcover by Ace in October.

Vision in White by Nora Roberts (Berkley)

  • PGI launched Vision in White, Book One in Roberts's first trade paperback original series, in May, with a first printing of 950,000.
  • Vision in White hit #1 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction bestseller list.
  • Roberts has now achieved #1 New York Times bestsellers across all adult formats, and has been on the New York Times bestseller lists 92% of the first half of 2009 – 24 out of 26 weeks.
  • Roberts's Putnam hardcover Black Hills went on sale July 7th and debuted at #1 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. Book Two in Roberts's Bride Quartet series, Bed of Roses, will be published in trade paperback by Berkley in November.

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow (Gotham)

  • More than 200,000 copies in print, through 15 printings, after an initial print run of 33,350 in April.
  • Spent eight weeks on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list, reaching #3. Going into the second half of the year, the book is still on the New York Times bestseller list, for 12 weeks to date.

3. New York Times Bestseller Success for Debut Fiction Writers

Penguin Group (USA) helped turn debut novelists into national New York Times bestsellers.

Highlights include:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books/ Putnam)

  • More than 275,000 copies of Kathryn Stockett's debut novel are in print, through 23 printings to date, after an initial print run of 57,300 in February.
  • Spent 11 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and an additional seven weeks on the extended bestseller list to date. Going into the second half of the year, The Help is still on the New York Times bestseller list, 16 weeks to date.
  • Generated international success, with foreign rights sales in 23 countries around the world, including France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the UK, among others—a remarkable achievement for a debut novel.

The Piano Teacher by Janice K. Lee (Viking)

  • Janice K. Lee's debut novel was on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list for two weeks.
  • Word of mouth for The Piano Teacher increased when an author-produced video was posted on YouTube and bookseller sites.
  • National media coverage included a feature in Elle and reviews in O: The Oprah Magazine, Body & Soul, Good Housekeeping, People, Vogue, and Marie Claire.

4. Penguin Young Readers Division Achieves Sales Growth, Successfully Reaches Young Readers Online

The Penguin Young Readers Group has long been recognized for its rich, diverse, and award-winning list. A Young Readers Group priority has been attracting an audience of tech-savvy readers in an increasingly digital world, by implementing multimedia-platform marketing campaigns that spread virally, propelling titles onto the New York Times bestseller lists. The Young Readers Group has continued to successfully achieve this goal.

Highlights Include:

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Viking Children's Books)

  • Debuted at #1 on the New York Times children's chapter books list.
  • Sold more in its first day on sale than Dessen's last novel sold in its first week, with an initial print run of 250,000.
  • Penguin Young Readers launched Sarah-Land, a social networking community that has attracted thousands of members since March 2009.
  • Dessen's last previous book, Lock and Key, was #1 on the New York Times children's chapter book list.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Razorbill)

  • Originally published in hardcover by Razorbill in October 2007, with an initial printing of fewer than 20,000 copies.
  • Debuted on the New York Times children's chapter book bestseller list in Spring 2008 and stayed on the list for five weeks, more than six months after initial publication, which prompted the decision to repackage and republish the title in hardcover in Fall 2008.
  • The enhanced hardcover edition of Thirteen Reasons Why went on sale in October 2008, published in conjunction with a special video promotion viewed by more than 100,000 readers, and an official website.

  • More copies of Thirteen Reasons Why were shipped in the first half of 2009 (150,575) than all of 2008 (more than 136,600).
  • There are now over 400,000 copies of the book in print.
  • The book has been the New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks overall.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why has been translated into 19 languages and counting.

5. Penguin Group (USA) Pioneered Digital Strategies and Services

As more consumers turn to digital resources to obtain new information and content, the demand for online programs and services increases. Penguin Group (USA) launched new and promising digital marketing strategies to reach readers on all available platforms and formats.

Online Portfolio Includes:

New Online Network of Book-Related Programming

  • Penguin Group (USA) launched "From the Publisher's Office," its own online network with three channels featuring nine series of book-related programming for adults, young adults, and children.
  • Network features several episodic online series, including "YA Central," "Project Paranormal," "Penguin Storytime," "Tarcher Talks," "Penguin Classics On Air," "Penguin Business Thought Leaders" and "A Cup of Poetry."
  • All programming is original and customized for a wide range of audiences; new episodes will be produced each publishing season.
  • Most of the content is created, written, shot, edited, and produced by PGI executives and department team members.
  • The network attracted over 15,200 visits in its first week, and generated national media coverage.

Penguin Group (USA) iPhone App

  • Penguin Group (USA) is the only leading consumer trade publisher to have an iPhone app, available free from the iTunes app store, which optimizes its consumer website for mobile devices.
  • Version 1.1 of the app, released in April 2009, features eCommerce (which enables U.S. users to buy print books directly from the iPhone) and expanded excerpt reader functionality, which includes portrait or landscape reading, automatic text reflow, five different font sizes, and page-turning animation.

Expanded eBook Lists

  • eBook sales continue to grow.
  • Top-selling eBooks titles for the first half of 2009 include Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta, Nora Roberts's Vision in White, Harlan Coben's Long Lost, Charlaine Harris' Dead and Gone, Clive Cussler's Corsair, and Kathryn Stockett's The Help.
  • Penguin Group (USA) currently has 7,400 eBooks available and expects to have 10,000 titles by year's end.
  • Penguin Group (USA)'s eSpecials and Enriched eBook Classics programs also continue to grow.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

  •, Inc., and Penguin Group (USA) launched the second annual international competition seeking the next popular novel.
  • James King, author of Bill Warrington's Last Chance, was named the winner of 2009's contest, and received a publishing contract from PGI; the book will be published by Viking in 2010.
  • Penguin Group (USA) is also publishing books by the two 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award runners-up: Stuff of Legends by Ian Gibson (Ace, not yet scheduled) and Malice, Quite Close by Brandi Lynn Ryder (Viking, Winter 2011).
  • Penguin Group (USA) will publish a new novel, Blood Root, by last year's winner, Bill Loelfelm, this September.
  • Penguin Group (USA) is publishing four more 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contestants' novels: Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, July 2009), The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer (Putnam, August 2009), The Butterflies of Grand Canyon by Margaret Erhart (Plume, January 2010), and Casting Off by Nicole Dickson (NAL, August 2009).
  • The 2009 competition drew several thousand participants with representation from all 50 states and 21 countries.

6. Penguin Group Invests in a Greener Future

Continuing to invest in green initiatives is a priority for Penguin Group (USA) in 2009.

Penguin Group (USA) Commits to Paper Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council

  • In 2009, Penguin Group (USA), in conjunction with its vendors, has made a concerted effort to seek out sustainably sourced paper.
  • Each of the company's principal vendors has had all of their paper custody certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Penguin Classics and the Union of Concerned Scientists Partner on Book about the Effects of Global Warming

  • Penguin Classics and the Union of Concerned Scientists selected essays and photos from various writers, artists, activists, and students from across the U.S. to personally illustrate the effects of global warming in a new book called Thoreau's Legacy: American Stories About Global Warming.
  • Available as an interactive online book, an eBook, and a limited edition hardcover.

Penguin Group's Global Walk a Worldwide Success

  • A team of 1,000 Penguin Group employees from offices around the world participated in the Penguin Global Walk on June 5, World Environment Day.
  • Starting in Auckland, New Zealand, Penguin people walked around the clock, in Melbourne, Australia; Beijing, China; Delhi, India; Johannesburg, South Africa; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; New York, New York; and Toronto, Canada.
  • In the U.S., PGI employees raised funds for the Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees Campaign.

7. Penguin Group Global

Elsewhere in the world, first-half highlights included:

In the UK, Penguin had 25 titles in the UK Top Ten bestsellers list and six number ones including Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Ministry of Food (number one for nine weeks and on the charts for 23 weeks), Marian Keyes' This Charming Man (number one for four weeks and on the charts for 14 weeks), Jeremy Clarkson's For Crying Out Loud, Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and Antony Beevor's D-Day (number one for eight weeks). Penguin Classics made a very strong start to the year building on a successful 2008, its best ever year. Devil May Care took the Marketing Campaign of the Year at this year's Nibbies and won the Sainsbury's Popular Fiction Award at the Galaxy Book Awards.

In Australia, Penguin won nine awards at the Australian Book Awards including the prestigious Publisher of the Year award for a second successive year, and bestselling novel Breath by Tim Winton won the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

In Canada, Penguin won four awards at the Canadian Booksellers' Association including a double win for 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Joseph Boyden for Through Black Spruce and the marketing award for Extraordinary Canadians. Penguin Canada author Alice Munro took home the International Man Booker Prize.

In India, Penguin won two book awards for Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies and Ira Pande's T'TA Professor at the national book awards, the Vodaphone Crossword Awards. Penguin partnered with India's biggest online retailer, Indiaplaza, to launch e-commerce functionality on its website ( Bestsellers in the first half included: Narayana Murthy's A Better India, A Better World, Anita Desai's Village by the Sea and Nandan Nilekani's Imagining India.

In South Africa, Penguin published the third installment in the hugely successful Spud series, Spud Learning to Fly, which dominated the charts and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date.

Penguin Ireland had three Irish number one bestsellers with Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn, Antony Beevor's D-Day, and Ross O'Carroll Kelly's We Need to Talk About Ross, the Totally Official Biography of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly.

8. Looking Ahead: Strong Lineup of Fall Titles

Penguin Group (USA)'s impressive second-half publishing list features many highly anticipated titles, including:


Patricia Cornwell, The Scarpetta Factor (Putnam, 10/20)

The new Kay Scarpetta novel from the world's #1-bestselling crime writer.

Sue Grafton, U is for Undertow (Putnam, 12/1)

With U is for Undertow, the 21st installment of Sue Grafton's thrilling Kinsey Millhone series, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author continues her winning streak. This time, Grafton balances Kinsey's investigations in 1988 with flashbacks to the mid-to-late-'60s (much as she did with the '50s in S is for Silence), and focuses part of the plot on the disappearance of a kidnapped girl.

Anthony E. Zuiker, Level 26 (Dutton, 9/8)

Level 26 is an industry-redefining multiplatform media property by Anthony Zuiker, the creator and executive producer of the CSI television franchise. This "digi novel," the first in a trilogy, has codes embedded throughout its text. The codes lead readers to a website created specifically for the book, and grants them access to 20 cyberbridges produced with all the professional expertise one would expect from the famed CSI creator.

Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked (Riverhead, 9/29)

(Also to be published by Penguin UK)

What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? When, miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? Juliet, Naked is Nick Hornby writing what he knows best—music, fanaticism, love, and the surprising twists that accompany them.


David Plouffe, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory (Viking, 11/3)

The Audacity to Win takes readers inside the most fascinating political journey of our time. Written by Obama's campaign manager, the book shares the story of the Obama for President Campaign, through the eyes of the man who led it from hopeful beginning to triumphant victory.

Greg Mortenson, Stones into Schools (Viking, 12/1)

The new book by Greg Mortenson brings us up to date on what has happened to him, his schools, and his students in the six years since the events described in his first book, #1 New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea.

Andrew Weil, Why Our Health Matters (Hudson Street Press, 9/8)

Why Our Health Matters details what has gone wrong with the American way of life and why Americans find themselves in the middle of a health crisis. Dr. Weil offers a realistic vision of how to achieve optimum health through a heightened sense of personal responsibility and a new model of medicine. Why Our Health Matters arrives at a critical moment for millions of people facing today's health care obstacles, as well as those that lie ahead.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail (Viking, 10/13)

Andrew Ross Sorkin re-creates the drama and turmoil of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. With unprecedented access to the players involved, the New York Times's chief mergers and acquisitions reporter offers insider stories and startling revelations about the decisions made in the last decade on Wall Street.

LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Shooting Stars (The Penguin Press, 11/8)

From basketball superstar LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August, comes a poignant, thrilling tale of teamwork's ability to transform young lives—including James's own.

Young Readers:

Author David Benedictus and Illustrator Mark Burgess, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood (Dutton Children's Books, 10/5)

The first authorized sequel to A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner.

Tomie dePaola, Strega Nona's Harvest (G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 10/5)

In a follow-up to the New York Times-bestselling pop-up book, Tomie dePaola's beloved Caldecott Honor-winning character Strega Nona is back again, in the perfect fall harvest story.

John Flanagan, Ranger's Apprentice: Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw (Philomel, 8/4)

The Siege of Macindaw is the newest addition to the bestselling Ranger's Apprentice series, which has sold more than 1 million copies. The series is an epic fantasy adventure featuring fast pacing, cinematic battle scenes, sympathetic characters, and heart-stopping drama. The protagonist, Will, adopted into a mysterious and secretive group called the Ranger Corps, must use archery, stealth, and a great deal of courage to defend the kingdom.

Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy: Blood Promise (Razorbill, 8/25)

Now with more than 800,000 copies in print, the bestselling Vampire Academy series gets an exciting addition with Blood Promise. Like its three predecessors, this book is set at St. Vladimir's Academy, a boarding school for vampires and their guardians-to-be.


Penguin Group (, one of the world's largest English-language trade book publishers, has established divisions and key market positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, China, South Africa, New Zealand, and Ireland. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

Marilyn Ducksworth
(212) 366-2564

Dave Zimmer
(212) 366-2687