13 July 2009
Pearson, the conglomerate parent of Penguin — the publishing company that has been so regularly the subject of outraged outcry of late over its deal with bookseller W.H. Smith to keep books by other publishers out of its stores — has been named world’s largest publisher of books, according to an analysis (pdf) conducted by French book-trade magazine Livres Hebdo.
Despite the worldwide recession, and despite the fact that — as per this MobyLives report from just last week — the company recently announced it was slashing its workforce by 10%, a report in The Bookseller by Philip Jones says “Pearson is one of only two companies in the top 10 list to have significantly grown sales organically over 2008 as the worsening recession has forced companies into either restructurings or divestments.”
Which, in fact, is what happened to the former biggest publisher in the world, Random House/Bertelsmann, which divested itself of its book clubs in the US and saw a 6% sales drop, and thusly found itself on this newest survey as the fifth biggest publisher in the world. Indeed, reports the Bookseller, “The top 10 trade publishers have seen their collective sales drop by 7% between 2006 and 2008.”
Meanwhile, Pearson’s sales grew 5%. That, on top of the ongoing implementation of its anti-competitive program with W.H. Smith and its massive layoffs, certainly bespeaks a very good looking bottom line — world-wide financial crisis or no — for the world’s biggest publisher.
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