Monday, November 19, 2007


With the imminent demise of this company the rumour mill has been working overtime with the latest saying that as of today Reed Publishing (NZ) is Raupo Publishing (NZ) – the colophon stays, but after 75 years, thanks to Reed-Elsevier’s international lawyers, the name Reed won’t be part of readers’ lives. I believe this information is correct as I have now heard this from several connected sources.

I am aghast, appalled and saddened at this development and can't believe that when the name Reed has been used in New Zealand for 100 years (long before Reed Elsevier ever existed!) that the lawyers have ruled this way. Damn and blast their eyes, and other assorted oaths!

What a bloody shame.
And I'll wager only handful of Reed staff will be joining the penguins on their corporate ice floe.

The Reed website’s been down all day but as soon as some one (read Penguin Books NZ I guess) tells me something official I will report back.


Anonymous said...

I live down the road from Reeds and the sign outside has been saying Raupo Publishing for a day or two now.

southern man said...

I guess that Penguin thought they would be getting the publishing list and the all-valuable name of Reed. Well they missed out on the latter. Bloody ridiculous in my book.
Old AH Reed will be swirling in his grave!
How much fight did the local board of Penguin put up to keep the name? I suspect not much.
Of course anyone else could now start up a publishing company incorporating the name Reed. I'm tempted to do it myself!

Anonymous said...

A tragic, lost opportunity.

Southern Woman said...

southern man wonders how much of a fight the Penguin NZ board would have put up. He's well off the mark. If there is a Penguin NZ board it will be one for legal reasons only. I doubt they meet. It will comprise the NZ CEO, an Australian, Peter Field an English born Australian who lives in London and a number of London-based faceless Pearson directors.
The name Reed wouldn't mean anything to them.

NZBookgirl said...

The Reed website has been down for a week or two and I've been anxiously awaiting news of what was going to happen there. The decisions are certainly being made in UK not here, and they have no appreciation of the taonga of the Reed name. I hope they at least put everyone out of their misery by putting out some clear information on what is happening and where Reed/Raupo will go from here. So sad that this should happen to Reed in their hundredth year.

Anonymous said...

'southern man' and 'southern woman' clearly believe that the senior management team and directors at penguin are not just arrogant but certifiably brain-dead. It's also apparent that they believe the notion of value and goodwill attached to a commercial brand is their own special 'southern' secret. If either of them want to step out of their snivelling circle of ignorance on this matter, they could just pick up the phone and dial the number for penguin in the directory. But then we know that 'southern' types like to have something they can bitch about, don't we?
And as for the corporate ice floe...come on Bookman, give them a break.

Anonymous said...

I cant say to much but can be trusted to have had a long association with reed Publishers and what has happened in the last 6 months has been nothing short of disgraceful and disgusting for the New Zealand Publishing world and New Zealand literature in general. Firstly all that was ever wanted from the Reed sale was the educational titles. There was no interest in the NZ titles at all after all this is now being run from Australia.
There is no longer any local distribution of these titles and so the price of the books will increase thanks to them being shipped from Australia.
As far as the herald stating in the press this morning there has been redundancies at all three publishers I am yet to see this. Everyone from Reed NZ is going with only a hand full moving to pearson. As yet it would be nice to see a list of who has lost there jobs at pearson penguin through this... to date i fear no one.
The worst part about all of this is that the love of local publishing, Authors and books is gone and is now being driven by a sterile corporate Giant out of there award winning architecturally designed buildings in Albany Auckland like battery farmed chickens. Above them an Australian corporate who cares not one jot for New Zealand and sends whatever books are left over after Australia has taken what they want.
I am sorry New Zealand but once again we have lost another great in our culture and history, we have lost jobs, we have lost titles but most of all we have lost another ability to keep NZ culture talent and history alive. Thank you globalisation.
oh yes and how long did they fight for the name to be kept???? no one will ever know as it happened in an email on one day.. very upsetting.

A Soon-to-be Ex-Penguin said...

The person asserting his trustworthiness on the basis of a long assocation with Reed is well-intentioned but nonetheless completely ignorant of the facts in this matter and the wider context in which they are taking place. It seems to escape many NZ observers that Reed Publishing happens to be a small part of a larger enterprise called Harcourt Education International, owned by another 'sterile corporate Giant' Reed Elsevier. This educational publishing and assessment business was of course going to be of interest to one of the world's biggest educational publishers, Pearson Education. The NZ situation where Reed Publishing, a consumer publishing house, came as part of the HE purchase is unique. That Harcourt Education's vendor, Reed Elsevier, wants to prevent the new owner trading with its name is standard practice even if, as we know, the House of Reed has been in existence far longer than its Dutch namesake. As Gavin Maclean said in the Herald (paraphrased), what do UK/European corporate lawyers know or care about the iconic value of that name in NZ. What they have done, sad and needless as it is, is no less than what AOL Time Warner required when it sold Time Warner Book Group to Hachette. On the contrary, a quick look thru Penguin's history will know that its acquisition of Frederick Warne, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Dorling Kindersley and Rough Guides led to the continuation and development of those brands.

Continuing with the abject ignorance theme, Anonymous asserts that the "Australian corporate above [Penguin]...sends whatever books are left over after Australia has taken what they want". This is simply and demonstrably untrue. NZ customers are supplied more books on time and in full than has ever been possible in the past for a NZ distributor. Just ask a bookseller.

As for the comments about job losses only coming from Reed,I can say that Anonymous is not just wrong but shown to be wrongheaded by these remarks. Just as at Reed, there are decent, passionate, hardworking people at Penguin and Pearson Ed who will not have jobs once the integration is complete. That is not a statement about the value of an NZ cultural icon, or the sterility (?) of corporate giants, it is just business.
And my credentials for saying that, I hear you ask? I am one of the decent hardworking passionate people who finishes up at Xmas.
So how about a bit of respect and consideration for us? How exactly does Anonymous conclude that because we work for Penguin, we automatically are preferred in the integration process? Businesses that succeed generally do so by keeping the people that make the best team for achieving success. I know for a fact that this is the rule being lived out by managers who genuinely want to do what is best.

Anonymous said...

The Reed whanau is a very special one indeed and the disintegration of the Rawene Road business saddens many. Reed has a committed and passionate team, lets hope that this talent doesn't disappear from the NZ publishing scene.
Pearson, you have acquired something very special, lets hope you nurture and treasure it.

The Captain Cook said...

Some Penguins will emerge from the Reeds - and we are looking forward to publishing plenty more of the books that made Reed/Raupo iconic. Watch this space!

North Shore Noddy said...

I like Captain Cook's comments. I'm sure all book lovers will be watching "this space" with much interest. I guess if Penguin NZ continue to publish around the same number of books per year as they do now, and they continue to publish under the Raupo imprint the same or similar number of books that the almost gone Reed Publishing NZ has done then they will be NZ's largest book publisher by a country mile leaving Random House a very distant second and Harper Collins even further back in third place.
My guess though is that some Reed/Raupo authors will not want to go to Penguin so there should be some great opportunities for others, including the smaller independent players like Longacre and Potton.

NZBookgirl said...

I hope that they can maintain a reasonably large children's list - Reed have always published a lot of children's books (though sometimes I've thought quantity at the expense of quality), whereas Penguin's NZ children's list seems to have shrunk year by year.

Bookman Beattie said...

It is just after 5.30pm Thursday so I'm about to sign off for the day and go and have a glass of fine wine, but before doing so wanted to thank all those who have taken the trouble to post their comments on the Reed/Penguin story. So far eleven have done so which is the greatest number of comments on any one story that I have received to date.
And of course this does not include the more than 30 personal/off-the-record e-mails and phone calls I have received.
Plus yesterday I was just a few shy of 600 hits on the blog which is an all time record number of visitors in one day.
All this illustrates just how much interest there is in the Reed/Penguin story and how much regret there is that the name Reed is about to disappear as a NZ imprint.
I'll continue to post information as it somes to hand.
Good night to y' all.

Bookman Beattie said...

OOps, typo in my previous comment, it was almost 800 hits on the blog yesterday not 600.
And in response to NZ Book Girl I have just received for review The Reed Treasury of NZ Children's Books which I will be writing about in a day or two.