Random House Partners With Huffington Post on Public Event to Build Publisher Brand

In its ongoing efforts to build the Random House brand outside of the publishing industry, Random House will hold a day-long event at its headquarters in New York of literary panels, discussions around the upcoming election and a wine tasting. The event is geared toward industry influencers, book bloggers and, mostly, the general public and will be held on Nov. 2.

“We’ll be inviting some influencers, book bloggers and book-club coordinators,” said Theresa Zoro, senior vice president and director of publicity at Random House Publishing Group and one of the event’s organizers.

Random House is partnering with the Huffington post and the event will feature Random House Publishing Group and Huffington post editors, as well as famous authors like Anna Quindlen and Kurt Anderson and other notables, like Self magazine editor Lucy Danziger.

There will be panels on the making of a best-seller, books as gifts, dieting, cooking and a keynote speech on the 2012 Presidential election. WORD, a Brooklyn-based independent bookstore will be selling books and there will be a wine tasting sponsored by Banfi, a Brookfield, NY-based wine importer. Attendees will leave with a gift bag and tickets are $25. Random House hopes to host some 200 people.

Part of the point of the open house is to continue to build the Random House brand among consumers. Earlier this year, Random House released a series of videos explaining its business and the publishing process. With the rise of self-publishing and e-books, publishers are closer to consumers than ever — and some question what publishers do in a world where anyone can publish a book.

3 thoughts on “Random House Partners With Huffington Post on Public Event to Build Publisher Brand

  1. Bob Mayer

    I wonder how many times someone walked into a bookstore and said “Give me the latest Random House.” Or searched on Amazon for “Random House”?

    Aren’t authors brands? Series? But a publisher? Harlequin has various lines that are brands. Perhaps the focus is a little misplaced here?

    How are publishers closer to consumers? Does the consumer even care who published the book? The consumer cares about the quality of the writing, the actual product, which is a STORY not a book. The story can be consumed in a print book, an eBook, an audiobook.

    It’s an interesting attempt at change.

  2. Richard Bilkey

    Bob, I agree that (for the most part) consumers don’t care who published the book, but I think that the relationship between publishers and consumers is certainly changing. There are in fact some very real examples of publishers getting much closer to consumers:

    Hay House, the Mind Body Spirit niche publisher, runs a large number author events and festivals around the world in which it sells a huge number of books direct to consumers. And I can assure you that in the MBS space, the brand Hay House is now well recognised by readers and is seen as a positive assertion of quality. The literary festival aspect of the Random House open house has some similarities to this, although on a much more modest scale, and with a third party bookseller.

    Here in Australia, Pearson has recently bought the online retail arms of the now defunct Borders and Angus & Robertson chains. While Pearson is not using their publishing branding on the site (bookworld.com.au), this is still one of the strongest moves by a major publisher anywhere in the world to secure a direct-to-consumer retail channel and is obviously being watched very closely.

    And then there’s the rise of new publishing business models such as \And Other Stories\, the new UK publisher that has jumped out of the blocks with a Booker Short Listed novel in only it’s second year of existence. And Other Stories employs a subscription model to finance its publications and so its primary customers pay for their book in advance and receive them direct from the publisher before the general trade. Not only this, but subscribers are also invited to take part in the book acquisition process itself, bringing the relationship between publisher and consumer even closer.

    Given that many publishers are rethinking their relationships with consumers, I’m not surprised to see Random House attempt to extend their brand to a wider audience. Having said all of that, I don’t believe these moves by Random House are totally focused at the end consumer. The video and the open house seem far more geared at two other groups that have always been extremely important to publishers: writers and \influencers\.

    It’s pretty obvious why Random House would be trying to promote their in-house processes to writers – they need to demonstrate their value proposition to potential authors who may be considering self-publishing. The video was clearly produced with this in mind and it seems reasonable to assume that a number of the general public tickets to the open house will also be picked up by aspiring writers.

    The Random House open house also provides a perfect opportunity to schmooze the \book bloggers and book-club coordinators\ and other influencers. There’s nothing new about publishers reaching out to influential reviewers in newspapers, radio and television in the hope that their books may be more favourably represented. Now that there’s been a significant shift in book conversations towards online channels, publishers need to foster personal connections with this new generators of influencers.



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