Discussing wih Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, how global publishing works, really.
A packed room with 350 visitors of the Frankfurt book fair, including numerous executives from around the world, questions – from my colleagues of Livres, Hebdo, buchreport, The Bookseller, PublishNews Brazil and Publishers Weekly – ranging from “How will you make this merger work”, after he had pushed for forming the largest trade publisher worldwide in today’s industry, to “What was the last book, published NOT by Penguin or Random House, and how did you actually ‘discover’ it (on the table of a friend, said Dohle, switching inadvertedly from English to German, thus making the proof that discovering a good read is very local, not global – but the, at first unnoticed involontary, change of languages gave him an amused, friendly laughter from the audience!).
What are the plans for Penguin Random House in emerging markets like Brazil or China or India? And why is Random House Deutschland, in Munich, not a part of the new entity (but Dohle is the boss for both, on Bertelsmann’s board).
And last but not least a few surprises, when Dohle said for instance (tongue in cheek): “You know, when I was in Brazil, and met those great people at (Brazilian publisher) Companhia das Letras (in which British Penguin had invested earlier), I decided that we just HAD to merge with Penguin, to be a part of this!”
Well, there were many interesting details, amusing sound bites, and pretty thoughtful insights during those 60 minutes. You can hear all of that soon. We will post a complete stream here shortly.