Penguin’s Swan Song

shutterstock_74948680Following last week’s report from former Penguin parent Pearson, Penguin will no longer report out earnings as a standalone business unit.
That said, last week’s report looked pretty good for the publisher. Revenues were up 16% and profits were up, too, to £28 million ($43 million).
Pub lunch points out, however, that the company’s profits for the half year were wiped out completely by merger costs and legal costs.
While any profit in the fickle trade publishing business is impressive, it’s worth pointing out that Penguin’s lauded first half generated a profit margin of only a 5.5% — even without the one-time (one hopes) charges.
Meanwhile, Amazon lost money last quarter on sales of nearly $16 billion. Also par for the course.

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The rest of the day’s top news:
Innovative App Publishing (DBW)
Nosy Crow is a UK-based award-winning book app producer. The company’s CEO shares some of its secret sauce in this Q&A.
Hachette Exits New Zealand (New Zealand Herald)
The global publisher is closing shop in the land of Kiwis. Globalization and the rise of ebooks were the culprits named by the company.
Shanda Shutters Cloudary After IPO Cancelation (China Tech News)
Shanda, a China-based operator of online games and book publisher, is laying off nearly 40 workers in its Cloudary e-book and e-reader business after a failed IPO attempt earlier this summer. It’s unclear what is to become of Cloudary.
Is Print Dead? (DBW)
The jokey newspaper The Onion published an article last week declaring that print was finally dead (after years of print-reliant industries tentatively declaring the same and its opposite). However, as it turns out, print has gone through many incarnations throughout history – dead, alive and in-between.
Digital Textbooks Exploding? (Good E Reader)
Reportedly, digital textbooks accounted for 27% of the $12.4 billion spent on textbooks in the U.S. in 2012. While the number is both higher education and K-12, this doesn’t jive with other industry reports citing that e-textbook adoption is extremely low among college students.
How Publishers Should Approach Consumer Data (Pub Perspectives)
Surveys that help editors and publishers understand the potential market for a kind of book are the key, says one analyst.
Kobo Coming Out With Bigger Tablet? (The Digital Reader)
Kobo, the company that “doubled down” on e-readers, may be coming out with a ten-inch tablet computer.
New Ebook Rankings (The Bookseller, Good E Reader)
The Booksellers and Good E Reader are both launching ebook rankings that differ from our own and are worth watching, too. The Bookseller’s gets data reported by some of the largest publishers in the world. Good E Reader is watching downloads at file sharing sites to see what people are downloading for free. Our own list, of course, is an aggregate of sales rankings at the most popular ebook retail sites, weighted for market share and a number of other variables. See it here.

Image Credit: image via Shutterstock

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