Monday, October 29, 2012

Reading matters

"I would be the first to admit that there is no fortune in this series for anyone concerned, but if my premises are correct and these Penguins are the means of converting book-borrowers into book-buyers, I shall feel that I have perhaps added some small quota to the sum of those who during the last few years have worked for the popularization of the book-shop and the increased sale of books". Alan Lane in 1935.

The legend goes that on a train journey back from visiting Agatha Christie in 1934, Alan Lane found himself on an Exeter station platform with nothing available worth reading. He conceived of paperback editions of literature of proven quality which would be cheap enough to be sold from a vending machine.

He also wanted a 'dignified but flippant' symbol for his new business. His secretary suggested a Penguin and another employee was sent to London Zoo to make some sketches. Seventy years later Penguin is still one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

And now Penguin passes into the hands of who might disagree that "there is no fortune in this series for anyone concerned",

Bertelsmann is currently organised into the following four divisions: RTL Group, Europe's biggest broadcaster of radio and television, which is also the umbrella division for Bertelsmann's movie and TV production enterprises, Gruner und Jahr, the biggest magazine publisher in Europe, Random House, the world's largest trade book publisher (and soon with Penguin integrated), Arvato, an international media and communications service provider.

Globally, large media conglomerates include Viacom, CBS Corporation, Time Warner, News Corp, Bertelsmann AG, Sony Corporation of America (who recently took over the Bertelsmann Music Group), NBC Universal, Vivendi, Televisa, The Walt Disney Company, Hearst Corporation, Organizações Globo and Lagardère Group.

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