PENGUIN GROUP (USA) LAUNCHES ITS OWN NETWORK OF ONLINE PROGRAMMING WITH THREE CHANNELS FEATURING NINE SERIES OF BOOK ENTERTAINMENT FOR ADULTS, YOUNG ADULTS AND CHILDREN

The Online Network, to Be Called "From the Publisher's Office," Will Feature Several Episodic Online Series, Including "YA Central," "Project Paranormal," "Penguin Storytime" and "Tarcher Talks" and Audio Series Such as "Penguin Classics on Air," "Penguin Business Thought Leaders" and "A Cup of Poetry"

New York, New York, June 16, 2009 ... Penguin Group (USA) is launching today its own online network called "From the Publisher's Office," with three channels featuring nine series of book entertainment for adults, young adults and children, it was announced by Penguin Group (USA) President Susan Petersen Kennedy. The network will feature several episodic online series, including "YA Central," "Project Paranormal," "Penguin Storytime" and "Tarcher Talks," and audio series such as "Penguin Classics On Air," "Penguin Business Thought Leaders" and "A Cup of Poetry." All of the programming is original and customized for a wide range of audiences, and new episodes will be produced each publishing season. The network is now live on the Penguin Group (USA) website at www.penguin.com/thepublishersoffice

Mrs. Kennedy said, "Reaching readers everywhere and providing them with books they want to read is really important to us. We want to make it easy, convenient and entertaining for readers to connect online with our authors and their books through original series. This online programming is meant to narrowcast the richness of our content from across the house."

The "From the Publisher's Office" network also enables viewers to e-mail and share episodes within each series via a number of online and social networking applications, including Digg, Twitter, Delicious and Technorati, among others.

Most of the content for "From the Publisher's Office" is created, written, shot, edited and produced by more than 30 Penguin Group (USA) executives and department team members who are closest to the content, some having worked directly with the books.

David Shanks, Chief Executive Officer of Penguin Group (USA), composed and performed two original songs for "Penguin Storytime," which are featured in "The Screening Room." David's wife, Liz, and daughter, Jennifer, can be heard singing harmony on "Listen, Learn and Grow," the song that inspired the title of the read-aloud segment hosted by Liz Shanks, a former librarian. Liz was involved in every aspect of producing her segment, right down to scripting, the sets and book selections. In each read-aloud segment Liz visits a local elementary school and reads to a group of children, which gives online viewers a sense of being part of the reading experience. Liz has spent her career reading to groups of children and shares her favorite books, old and new, on this show. One of her missions was to have children rediscover classic books as if they're new again. In the debut episode of the segment, "Listen, Learn and Grow," which was filmed at P.S. 321 in Brooklyn, Mrs. Shanks read to second graders.

You are encouraged to take an online tour of "From the Publisher's Office" and discover the breadth of the series and episodes in "The Screening Room," "The Radio Room" and "The Reading Room."

THE NINE SERIES ARE LISTED BELOW:

Inside "The Screening Room" Channel:

  • "Penguin Storytime" brings new and classic picture books to life, featuring the "Listen, Learn and Grow" segment, hosted by Liz Shanks. Each episode will be filmed on location at a library, school or bookstore. The series also showcases other segments that feature such renowned authors as Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and author of numerous bestsellers, including The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and Knucklehead, and Judy Schachner, author and illustrator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones picture book series.
  • "YA Central," a go-to online series for new trends in teen literature, features teen book club discussions and candid conversations with award-winning, bestselling young adult authors. Debut episodes include interviews with authors Laurie Halse Anderson and Lauren Myracle, who speak candidly with students at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City; and author John Green chats with teens at the Hennepin County Library, Ridgedale Branch, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These and other writers share insights into the stories behind their books, which deal with such contemporary YA issues as suicide, eating disorders and teen pregnancy.

    Marketing: As part of the national marketing campaign to promote "Penguin Storytime" and "YA Central," e-newsletters are being sent directly to schools, libraries, teachers, parenting websites, educator magazines and mommy blogs. The series will also be promoted with Pearson sister companies Family Education Network and Teacher Vision. In addition, DVDs of the programming will be distributed widely at July's American Library Association conference.

    Upcoming Episodes:

    "Penguin Storytime": Liz Shanks reading Mrs. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney to kids at P.S. 321 in New York; interview and discussion with Tomie dePaola, Caldecott Honor– and Newbery Honor–winning author. In upcoming seasons, viewers will be introduced to the process of creating picture books. For instance, an episode will feature interaction between art directors and the illustrators as they shape a picture book. When possible, viewers will also be invited into artists' studios for an intimate look at their artistic processes.

    "YA Central": Interview and discussion with T. A. Barron, author of the popular Merlin and Merlin's Dragon series, filmed at Hennepin Public Library in Minneapolis; interview and discussion with Jackie Woodson, Newbery Honor–winning author; Sarah Dessen, #1 New York Times–bestselling author; and Richard Peck, Newbery Honor-winning author.

  • "Tarcher Talks," an online television series for the New Age, tackles the challenging and the unusual, the spiritual and the enlightening, offering nuggets of practical advice and wisdom, from such notable Tarcher authors as 2012 expert Daniel Pinchbeck, renowned life coach Laura Berman Fortgang and hypnotherapist/weight-loss counselor Ursula James. Whether you are seeking tips on how to use motivational thinking to pave your way to success or input from a leading 2012 expert on what the future may hold, this series will provide inspiration that you can apply to your daily life.

    Marketing: As part of the national marketing campaign for "Tarcher Talks," DVDs will be given away at the International New Age Trade Show at the end of June, with national outreach to New Age retailers and consumers – particularly the 66 million "cultural creatives" in the U.S. – New Age gift shops, holistic centers, more than 1,000 ministries across the country, spiritual bookstores and their customers, via e-newsletters, the "Tarcher Talks" blog, beliefnet.com, creativeink.com and the New Age social networking site Gaia.com.

    Upcoming Episodes:

    Several episodes will be devoted to 2012, one of the hottest phenomenon in pop culture today, which has been covered widely by the national press. The "Tarcher Talks" 2012 episodes will coincide with the national release of the major motion picture, 2012, and will include an informative interview with renowned 2012 expert Daniel Pinchbeck, bestselling author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. Also upcoming: Julia Cameron, the world's foremost expert on the creative process, and why creativity is more important now than ever; "Think and Grow Rich," which is an exploration of the prosperity teachings of Napoleon Hill; in addition, upcoming topics will delve into Energy Medicine," whom some have called "the next frontier in medicine," and an exciting examination of the secret world of Freemasonry.

  • "Project Paranormal" opens a window into the world of vampires, werewolves and fallen angels. Regular features in the series will include irreverent man-on-the-street interviews; in the inaugural episode, the first question posed to readers on the streets of New York City is, "Do you prefer vampires or werewolves?" Other features include an insider's look at how our paranormal books get their distinctive looks in Under the Covers; and editors' tips on What's Next in the genre. The Editor's Corner segment will include interviews with editors who specialize in paranormal and urban fantasy, the hot trends in the genre, and what these editors look for in a great read. Also featured in "Project Paranormal" will be candid interviews with the authors themselves.

    Marketing: With the arrival of each new "Paranormal" episode, the featured authors will preview their respective shows on their MySpace and Facebook pages. There will also be special midnight screenings of "Project Paranormal" episodes on author websites, free DVD copies of the series will be handed out at the Romance Writers of America conference in July, and the series will be promoted on popular romance blogs.

    Upcoming Episodes:

    Bestselling authors Laurell K. Hamilton—whose latest Anita Blake novel, Skin Trade, currently holds the #1 spot on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list—and Christine Feehan each will be featured in their own episodes. And "Project Paranormal" will take viewers to the national Romance Writers of America conference. There is also a special comics-themed episode in the works, with a tour of Comic-Con in San Diego and an interview with author Marjorie Liu, who recently became the first woman to head up the writing for a major Marvel Comics series.

Inside "The Radio Room" Channel:

  • "Penguin Classics On Air" is a new audio series that presents discussions and analysis of some of Penguin Classics' more than 1,400 titles for contemporary readers. Each episode features an in-depth conversation on classic literature, ranging from Jane Austen to Filipino history to Russian and Yiddish literature. There are also lively book reviews by Alan Walker, Penguin's Senior Director of Academic Marketing & Sales, who bravely volunteered to begin an ambitious marathon, reading 26 classic books—all deserving, all new to him—in alphabetical order by author, over the course of one year, fulfilling his journey to read the Penguin Classics from A to Z.

    Marketing: The "Penguin Classics On Air" national publicity campaign targets literary publications, reporters and reviewers with a strong interest in classic literature, honing in on audiences for the initial episodes' themes, including key Jane Austen fan websites as well as publications and online communities dedicated to Asian and Filipino cultures, Russian and Yiddish literature, and New York City history. There will also be features placed on the "Patrons of Penguin Classics" Facebook page. Penguin Academic Marketing will also send special e-newsletters to its professors of literature and college faculty lists.

    Upcoming Episodes:

    Coming up for next season, there will be a talk by Amelia Montez on Who Would Have Thought It by Maria Amaparo Ruiz de Burton, the first novel written by a Mexican-American woman; a discussion with Beena Kamlani, the editor who worked most closely with Saul Bellow in the last decades of his life; Selma Lagerlof, the first woman to win the Nobel in Literature; an episode on Tolstoy's last days; and an in-depth discussion of the Baghavad Gita.

  • "Penguin Business Thought Leaders" provides access to some of the world's most respected, important and influential business leaders who have written books for Portfolio. The first episode, "Secrets of Great Small Businesses," features interviews with two experts on small business success and a reading from a classic book on that subject. The second episode, "Career Advice from Unique Perspectives," features interviews with two popular bloggers who have contrarian views on how we should manage our careers, as well as a reading from a classic book of career inspiration. The episodes feature new ideas and provocative advice that listeners can start using at work, in their career planning and in dealing with their personal finances.

    Marketing: Portfolio continues to be focused on narrowcasting to business readers as part of its marketing strategy, with a detailed blog post about the series on the Portfolio imprint blog (www.portfolioimprint.com); an e-mail blast to its extensive database of business media, bloggers, authors, and other key contacts; plus, personal one-on-one discussions with specific business bloggers. Links will direct them to the full description on the Portfolio blog and to the first two episodes of the series. Authors featured in the first two episodes will spread the word via their websites, blogs, and Twitter feeds. In addition, narrowcasting will focus on bookselling contacts at key accounts, such as 800-CEO-READ, a top business book specialty retailer with a popular blog about business books.

    Upcoming Episodes:

    July – "Leading in Hard Times:" segments with Geoff Colvin, author of The Upside of the Downturn and Howard Behar, author of It's Not About the Coffee.

    August – "Resolving Workplace Conflict:" segments with Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, authors of The Cost of Bad Behavior, and Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, authors of Working for You Isn't Working for Me.

  • "Penguin Audio Book Break" will give readers the opportunity to discover a new author and hear audio book excerpts, introducing new literary voices from across Penguin Group (USA), including new voices in fiction, such as Wang Gang and his current title, English, voted "Best Novel of the Year" in China. Each weekly segment is 10 to 20 minutes and there are 6 segments per novel.
  • "A Cup of Poetry," inspired by Penguin's poetry campaign for National Poetry Month, features exclusive recordings of contemporary and classic poems published by Penguin, showcases a new poem every week, with single poems recited by Penguin readers and, once a month, a reading by the poets themselves, as a "brief break of poetry in your day."

Inside "The Reading Room" Channel:

  • The Reading Room features a different Penguin Group (USA) book each month, posting a new chapter each week for three weeks, culminating, in the fourth week, with a live interactive online author chat with such New York Times–bestselling writers as Jane Green. There will also be exclusive book excerpts and stand-alone content from Penguin Group (USA)'s distinguished list of authors.

NOTES TO THE PRESS:

  • "From the Publisher's Office" production credits and photos available upon request.
  • Audio and video material found in "From the Publisher's Office" will also appear on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/thepublishersoffice beginning on Tuesday, June 23.
  • The Penguin Group (USA) website was redesigned in October 2008, sporting a new look and feel completely executed by internal designers and programmers. This site acts as the main Web presence for the myriad of Penguin Group (USA) publishers and imprints, and features direct-to-consumer selling, a blog, podcast, book clubs, multiple newsletters, and several weekly and monthly features.
  • Penguin 2.0: In December 2008 a new program entitled Penguin 2.0 was launched by Penguin Group (USA), offering readers a new way to discover and engage with Penguin content, and making the Penguin Group (USA) website the focus and hub for a number of innovative digital and print-based features.

    Two of the Penguin 2.0 features included Penguin Personalized, which offers readers the ability to insert personal dedications directly into a variety of Penguin titles, and a Penguin iPhone application that allows readers to enjoy Penguin content and news right on their iPhones.

  • Penguin Group (USA) is the only leading consumer trade publisher to have an iPhone app which optimizes its consumer website for mobile devices. The Penguin iPhone app is available for free from the iTunes app store. A 1.1 release of the app, released in April 2009, features eCommerce (the ability, for U.S. users only, 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.
  • Visit Penguin Group (USA) on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The Penguin Group (USA) website also features the latest titles from these digital publishing programs, another part of Penguin Group (USA)'s mission to bring the writer to the reader in whatever format the reader prefers:
    • Penguin eSpecials are for eBook readers who want more from authors whom they already admire. eSpecials are short pieces of writing— everything from important updates to nonfiction works to novellas by bestselling novelists.
    • The Penguin Enriched eBook Classics series takes Penguin Classics into the world of eBooks. The enriched format invites readers to go beyond the pages of these beloved works and gain more insight into the life of the author and period in which the book was written. New annotations, maps, illustrations, reviews from the original publication and filmographies are just some of the great features available only in our Enriched eBooks.

 

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others.The Penguin Group (http://www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

Contacts:
Marilyn Ducksworth
(212) 366-2564
marilyn.ducksworth@us.penguingroup.com

Dave Zimmer
(212) 366-2687
david.zimmer@us.penguingroup.com