Profits Up 26%, Double Digit Margin Achieved

New York, New York, March 2, 2009 ... Penguin Group, the international publishing company, today announced record profits for 2008, representing growth of 26% over the previous year. The company achieved a profit margin of 10.3%, meeting its commitment to a double digit margin in 2008. Sales rose 7%. This exceptional performance was achieved in spite of one of the most challenging retail environments in recent times.

The strengthening of the dollar in the course of the year boosted both the sales and the profits of the company in sterling terms but, even on an underlying basis, sales were up by 3% and profits showed growth of 4%. These numbers were all struck after a profit charge to reflect liquidity issues in the UK at the Woolworths Group. The improved profitability was the result of a company-wide focus on margin improvement through operational efficiency, consistent and disciplined investment in author and product development and the development of a globally coordinated publishing organization benefiting from worldwide scale. These strong Penguin results were part of an excellent overall Pearson performance in 2008: Pearson 2008 Preliminary Results.

John Makinson, Chairman and CEO, Penguin Group, stated, "We are hugely proud of Penguin's performance in 2008. In a very difficult market for consumer books, which deteriorated progressively during the year, Penguin achieved outstanding growth in sales and profit allowing us to meet our longstanding commitment to a double digit profit margin. This performance was underpinned by exceptional publishing around the world which we expect to continue in 2009."

David Shanks, CEO, Penguin Group (USA), commented, "Penguin Group (USA) had a very strong year in 2008. We exceeded our full-year targets and outperformed the overall market – an accomplishment that is extremely gratifying in such challenging economic times. Led by Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth , Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea and Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta, we had one or more #1 New York Times bestsellers 94% of the year, and we were the industry leader in #1 New York Times adult bestsellers across all formats. Our authors won two Pulitzer Prizes and we continued digital innovation. Looking ahead to 2009, we have an exceptional publishing list and are well positioned to have another good year."

Penguin Group (USA)'s excellent results in 2008 were driven by outstanding publishing programs, a strong bestseller performance, significant sales growth in its trade paperback and mass market units, a successful return on investment in its digital and audio businesses, and a string of new hits in the Young Readers division that attracted a record number of young readers online. Penguin Group (USA)'s success reflects the soundness of its overall strategies and the strength of its execution. Below is an overview of the Group's full year achievements for 2008.


Penguin Group (USA) led the industry with one or more #1 New York Times bestsellers 94% of the year and was the industry leader in #1 New York Times adult bestsellers across all formats. Here are additional bestseller achievements for 2008:

  • G. P. Putnam's Sons was again the #1 New York Times bestselling hardcover imprint, a position it has held for more than two decades.
  • Penguin Group (USA) led the industry in overall total of #1 New York Times trade and mass market paperback books.
  • Penguin Group (USA) delivered #1 New York Times bestsellers across 13 imprints.


Over the last several years, improved technology has made books more accessible online to mainstream America. Sales of Penguin Group (USA)'s eBooks have surged as the company has invested in making 6,400 books available on many electronic reading devices including the iPhone, developed online eBook stores, and published exclusive new content in eBook form. The company also launched an original digital program, Penguin 2.0, which offers consumers the unique opportunity to customize books, among other online services and features.

Penguin Group (USA):

  • Saw its eBook sales jump close to 500% over 2007.
  • Has 6,400 eBooks now available in the US; 8,500 total eBooks across the Group.
  • Was the first publisher to create an iPhone app for optimal viewing of its website on mobile devices.
  • Launched a line of eSpecials, short pieces of writing encompassing everything from updates to nonfiction works to unpublished novellas by bestselling authors.
  • Opened Enriched eBook Classics stores on Amazon and on the Penguin Group (USA) website.
  • Saw its website traffic climb 10% to 3.5 million unique visitors.
  • Launched the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award with


Penguin Group is one of the world's few truly global publishers, and has been successful in reaching readers all across the globe with universal stories that transcend boundaries. In 2008, two of the industry's biggest global news stories were the launch of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, and Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea, which has become a global publishing phenomenon.

  • Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth , the 61st Oprah's Book Club Selection, was a global bestseller for Penguin Group, published in the English language in each of Penguin Group's nine territories. For the first time ever, readers around the world were able to participate in a free, live interactive classroom discussion, led by Ms. Winfrey and the author. The 10-part interactive worldwide web event was a pioneering venture that reached an unprecedented number of readers globally. To date, more than 6 million copies of the book have been shipped in the U.S. The book debuted at #1 on The New York Times Advice, How-to and Miscellaneous bestseller list, and stayed in the #1 position for over six months, with 50 weeks on the list overall.
  • Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea was another worldwide phenomenon for Penguin Group, with editions published in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The book spent every week of the year in 2008 on The New York Times nonfiction paperback list (108 weeks in total), and was in the #1 position for 28 weeks. To date, more than 2.6 million copies have been shipped, and sales continue to climb. In January 2009, Penguin Group (USA) published young readers' adaptations of the book, in what was a successful cross-division publishing strategy that captured a whole new generation of readers with Mortenson's universal story for all ages. Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition (for ages 8-12 years) and the picture book, Listen to the Wind, surged to the top of The New York Times bestseller lists, hitting #1 simultaneously for the week of February 15th.


The Penguin Young Readers Group has long been recognized for its rich, diverse and award-winning lists, and reaching new generations of Penguin readers has always been one of the company's primary goals. Attracting this new audience of tech-savvy readers in an increasingly digital world takes creativity and innovation to step outside traditional boundaries. The Penguin Young Readers Group has successfully connected with this new generation by implementing multimedia-platform marketing campaigns that have spread virally in cyberspace, created buzz, and propelled titles onto The New York Times bestseller lists.

  • 13 million views were received on John Green and his brother Hank's popular YouTube video blog, Brotherhood 2.0, which was used to launch John Green's newest book, Paper Towns , which spent three weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.
  • Over 4,000 teenage girls, the demographic most synonymous with text messaging, engaged in a mobile phone texting campaign for New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen's spring titles – the paperback release of Just Listen (Speak) and the new hardcover, Lock and Key (Viking). The two books spent a combined 31 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list following the campaign. There have now been more than 3.6 million Sarah Dessen books shipped.
  • Richelle Mead's Shadow Kiss: Vampire Academy (Book Three) spent five weeks on The New York Times children's paperback bestseller list after Razorbilllaunched aunique keyword search and banner ad campaignfor the series on IMDB (Internet Movie Database). In the eighteen months since Razorbill published Vampire Academy (Book One), well over half a million copies of the series books are in print.
  • Over 100,000 readers viewed the special video promotion for 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher on various websites including YouTube featuring a cassette recording of the main character. The book became a word-of-mouth viral sensation, spending nine weeks on The New York Times bestseller list in 2008. The video was released one month after the deluxe hardcover of Thirteen Reasons Why , and was designed to heighten the viral buzz for the book.
  • Close to 2,000young readers downloaded the entire Boston Globe -Horn Book Honor Award-winning novel, Savvy by Ingrid Law, for one week, free of charge, and also sent the eBook for free to their friends. The Savvy eBook was available through Penguin's Savvy site as well as through other popular young reader's sites. The campaign propelled the hardcover edition onto The New York Times bestseller list.


Among a host of other awards and distinctions received in 2008, two Penguin Group (USA) authors were honored with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, adding significantly to Penguin Group (USA)'s distinguished publishing legacy. Junot Díaz and Barton Gellman join the ranks of Penguin Group (USA) authors Steve Coll and Geraldine Brooks, who won a Pulitzer in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

  • Junot Díaz'sThe Brief Wondrous Lifeof Oscar Wao (Riverhead) won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
  • The Penguin Press' Barton Gellman, author of Angler , also took home a Pulitzer for National Reporting.


Penguin Audio had its most profitable year to date in 2008, with gross sales up 17%. It was also an award-winning year: Penguin Audio received five "Listen Up" Awards – the most the group has ever received in one year; and eleven "Earphone" awards for excellence in narration, given by Audiofile magazine, the only magazine dedicated to audio book reviews.

  • Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth was the top audio seller for the year.
  • Other big audio titles for 2008 included Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Plague Ship by Clive Cussler, Phantom Prey by John Sandford and Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell.
  • Penguin Audio dominated the Humor category for this year's "Listen Up" awards, with three out of the five titles honored:Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black (read by the author); Why We Suck by Denis Leary (read by the author) and I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley (read by the author). Listen Up Awards also went to Take Back Your Family: A Challenge to America's Parents by Rev Run and Justine Simmons (read by the authors) in the Nonfiction category, and No Man's Land: A Memoir by Ruth Fowler (read by the author) in the Author-Read category.


  • Riverhead's Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Dutton's Ken Follett, author of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, have been recognized as the most popular writers globally, according to analysis of the 2008 international fiction bestseller lists published by book trade magazines, including The Bookseller (UK), Publishers Weekly (US) and Livres Hebdo (France).
  • Hosseini and Follett are the only two authors in the world to have books in the Top 10 fiction lists in seven of nine countries where data was charted. In total, the analysis tallied 387 writers in the Top 10 fiction charts of the nine countries included—France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.


Penguin Group (USA)'s longstanding commitment to green programs resulted in new milestones reached in 2008:

  • Penguin Facilities Increases Use of Wind Power - Penguin Group (USA) was one of the first companies in the state of New York to use wind as a source of energy. This began a decade ago and continues today. Wind power now comprises 20% of the energy used at Penguin's warehouses – up 10% over 2007.
  • Penguin Classics Plants More Than a Million Trees with The Nature Conservancy - Penguin Classics continues to support the Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign with major marketing, publicity, and in-store promotions that increased public awareness and participation. The program has already planted 1.4 million trees in Brazil.
  • Penguin Has Reduced Paper Usage by 25%: Penguin employees strive every day to reduce the company's carbon footprint. Through increased use of scanners, digital workgroups, and the use of Sony Readers and Amazon Kindles, Penguin has reduced its annual paper consumption.


Penguin Group (USA) is dedicated to giving back to the global community. In 2008, the company contributed to a number of causes in an effort to promote literacy and support education worldwide.

  • Penguin Group (USA) built a primary school in Afghanistan, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United States Association for UNHCR. The school, which last year opened its doors to 270 students, grades one through six, is a tribute to the many American booksellers, librarians, and educators who supported Khaled Hosseini's #1 New York Times –bestselling and internationally acclaimed Riverhead novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns .
  • Penguin Group (USA) partnered with HBO to deliver books to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Generation Kill Troop Drive delivered care packages to troops destined for those countries. The partnership coincided with the July 2008 premiere of HBO Films' original miniseries, "Generation Kill," based on the award-winning, New York Times -bestselling Putnam/Berkley book of the same name by Evan Wright.
  • The 2008 Read for the Record campaign set a new world record with Penguin Young Readers Group's classic book, Corduroy , raising nearly $2 million. More than 425,000 people participated inJumpstart's Read for the Record on October 2, 2008, shatteringa world recordand bringing early education toanational stage. The Read for the Record campaign book was a custom edition of the beloved children's classic, Corduroy by Don Freeman. The day kicked off on NBC's "Today Show" with First Lady Laura Bush joined by Pearson Foundation President Mark Nieker as well as appearances by such celebrities as LL Cool J, Jesse McCartney, Mary Louise Parker, Greg Kinnear and Maria from "Sesame Street." The campaign raised almost $2 million for Jumpstart's early education programs in classrooms across the U.S. The Pearson Foundation, the campaign's National Sponsor and Founding Partner, donated more than 200,000 copies of Corduroy to children in low-income communities.


Penguin Group (USA)'s impressive 2009 publishing list features many highly regarded books, including new works from New York Times -bestselling and award-winning authors from across the house. Here is a brief look at several of these major titles:

  • Patricia Cornwell, Scarpetta (Berkley, Fall)
  • The premium edition of the latest #1 New York Times bestseller from America's number-one bestselling crime writer.

  • Sue Grafton, U is for Undertow (Marian Wood/Putnam, December)
  • In U is for Undertow, the thrilling 21st installment of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone's series, the #1 New York Times bestselling author continues her winning streak. This time, Grafton balances Kinsey's investigations in 1988 with throwbacks 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.

  • Greg Mortenson, Stones Into Schools (Viking, September)
  • Greg Mortenson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, here offers a new book that will bring the reader up to date on what has happened to himself, his schools, and his students since the first book ended in 2003.

  • David Plouffe, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory (Viking, Fall)
  • Inside the most fascinating political journey of our time. This book, by Obama's campaign manager, will share the story of the Obama for President campaign, written by the man who led it from day one through its triumphant victory.

  • Anthony Zuiker, The Dark Chronicles (Dutton, September)
  • The Dark Chronicles is an industry-redefining multi-platform media property by Anthony Zuiker, the creator and executive producer of the "CSI" television franchise. The centerpiece of Zuiker's cross-platform creation is being coined a "Digi Novel"—a crime novel with codes embedded at the end of every chapter which will unlock motion picture footage on a website where the storyline will live on when the book experience is complete. The Dark Chronicles experience is the first in a series of crime-thriller novels featuring an ex-Quantico rogue investigator named Steve Dark who walked off the job when his entire family was butchered in retaliation for putting away a famed drug lord. As the series of "Digi-Novels" progresses, members of the online community will become key to the continuing evolution of the world itself.

  • Nick Hornby, Juliet Naked (Riverhead, Fall)
  • What happens when a washed up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change? Juliet, Naked is Nick Hornby at his best, writing about what he does best – music, fanatics, love, and the surprising twists these offer to familiar lives.

  • Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail (Viking, Fall)
  • The first true behind-the-scenes, moment by moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. Through unprecedented access to the players involved, Too Big to Fail recreates all the drama and turmoil, revealing never-disclosed details and elucidating how decisions made on Wall Street over the past decade sowed the seeds of the debacle. Andrew Ross Sorkin is The New York Times's chief mergers and acquisitions reporter and columnist.

  • Clive Cussler and Justin Scott, The Wrecker (Putnam, November)
  • 1907, a year of financial panic and labor unrest. Train wrecks, fires and explosions sabotage the Southern Pacific Railroad's Cascades express line. Desperate, the railroad hires the fabled Van Dorn Detective Agency, and Van Dorn sends in its top investigator, the tall, lean detective Isaac Bell, hero of The Chase.

  • LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Shooting Stars (The Penguin Press, September)
  • LeBron is widely touted as today's best player in the National Basketball Association. Bissinger is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Friday Night Lights.

  • Nora Roberts, Black Hills (Putnam, July)
  • The #1 New York Times bestselling author takes us deep into the rugged Black Hills of South Dakota, where the shadows keep secrets, hunters stalk the land and a childhood friendship matures into an adult passion.

  • Andy Williams, Moon River and Me (Viking, September)
  • In Moon River and Me, Andy Williams shares the story of his remarkable life and seven decades in show business, a story that features such figures as Bobby Kennedy (a close friend), Judy Garland, John Lennon, Howard Hughes, Ronald Reagan, Marilyn Monroe, Sinatra, Elvis, and countless others. Before being declared a national treasure by President Reagan, Williams would chart eighteen gold and three platinum albums, headline at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas for over twenty years and host an enormously popular weekly variety show whose Christmas specials still occupy a tender spot in every Baby Boomer's heart.

  • Bryan Burrough, The Big Rich (The Penguin Press, January)
  • From the bestselling author of Barbarians at the Gate and Public Enemies , an epic account of how Texas oil transformed wealth and power in America, told through the stories of the state's four greatest oil fortunes.

  • Daniel Silva, The Defector (Putnam, July)
  • Filled with breathtaking turns of plot and populated by a remarkable cast of characters, The Defector is more than the most explosive thriller of the summer. It is a searing tale of love, vengeance and courage by the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

  • Charlaine Harris, Dead and Gone (Ace Hardcover, May)
  • Dead and Gone will be the ninth installment in Charlaine Harris's New York Times -bestselling Southern Vampire Series—a series that has grown exponentially in the last year with the arrival of the new HBO series, "True Blood," which is based on Harris's novels.

  • Harlan Coben, Long Lost (Dutton, April)
  • A blistering new Myron Bolitar thriller from the #1 New York Times- bestselling author.

  • John Sandford, Wicked Prey (Putnam, May)
  • Danger stalks Lucas Davenport at work and all too close to home, in a superlative new thriller by the #1 New York Times -bestselling author.

  • Terry Goodkind, The Law of Nine (Putnam, Fall)
  • # 1 New York Times-bestselling author Terry Goodkind turns in a new direction and delivers a stunningly original thriller, The Law of Nines. Turning twenty-seven may be terrifying for some, but for Alex, a struggling artist, it is cataclysmic. Inheriting a huge expanse of land should have made him a rich and happy man; but something about this birthday, his name, and the beautiful woman whose life he just saved, has suddenly made him—and everyone he loves—into a target. A target for extreme and uncompromising violence...

  • Tami Hoag, Deeper Than the Dead (Dutton, December)
  • Tami Hoag is in a class by herself, beloved by readers and critics alike, with more than 22,000,000 copies of her books in print. With Hoag's first novel for Dutton, she proves anew why the Chicago Tribune called her "one of the most intense suspense writers around."

  • Janice Y.K. Lee, The Piano Teacher (Viking, January)
  • A New York Times bestseller, this assured tale of romance, secrecy, and betrayal alternates between the lives of two vastly different women – with the backdrop of World War II and its aftermath.

Young Readers

  • Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up (Philomel Books, March)
  • Penguin is creating a pop-up version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Eric Carle's iconic book, which has sold 29 million copies since it was published.

  • David Benedictus and Illustrator Mark Burgess, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood (Dutton Children's Books, October)
  • The first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner .

  • Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition, adapted for young readers by Sarah Thomson (Puffin, January)
  • The #1 international bestseller has been adapted for children and young readers.

  • Greg Mortenson and Illustrator Susan Roth, Listen to the Wind , (Dial Books for Young Readers, January)
  • The picture book story of Dr. Greg and his quest for peace through the building of schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • Tomie dePaola, Strega Nona's Harvest (G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, October)
  • In a follow-up to the New York Times bestselling pop-up, Tomie dePaola's beloved Caldecott Honor-winning character, Strega Nona, is back again in the perfect fall harvest story.

  • Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride (Viking Children's Books, June)
  • Along for the Ride is Sarah Dessen's highly-anticipated follow-up to the New York Times best sellers Just Listen and Lock and Key. In it, a smart but socially inexperienced Auden decides to spend the summer before college with her father and stepmother in a small beach town. Sarah Dessen's books have sold more than 3.6 million copies.


Around the world, Penguin Group delivered a very strong performance in all its major markets, recognized by an array of awards, including Publisher of the Year awards in Canada and Australia and Trade Publisher of the Year in South Africa.

In the UK, Penguin's performance was driven by outstanding bestseller performance with 67 titles in the Bookscan top ten versus 52 last year. Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care , which became Penguin's fastest selling fiction hardback in its history, and Marian Keyes' This Charming Man , were two of the biggest selling hardback novels across the industry in 2008 (3rd and 14th respectively on Bookscan).

On the nonfiction side, Jamie's Ministry of Food sold well over half a million copies through Bookscan, making him the second biggest publishing franchise of the last decade in the UK. Penguin Classics had its best ever year with year-on-year growth of 15%. 2008 also saw the publication of Penguin Classics in Mandarin Chinese and Korean. Penguin accounted for more than 12% of market share in children's publishing. The Brands and Licensing division had a stand-out year with fantastic performances from their media franchises, including In the Night Garden (5.8 million copies sold to date).

2009 has started well in the UK with Jamie Oliver occupying the top slots from the start with both Ministry of Food and his Red Nose Day tie-in title. Looking ahead, Penguin has a stellar publishing line-up around the world..

Penguin Group is part of Pearson (FTSE: PSON; NYSE: PSO), the international media company.


Marilyn Ducksworth

(212) 366-2564

Dave Zimmer

(212) 366-2687