Penguin Random House LLC is the world's largest English-language general trade book publisher. It is a division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the foremost media companies in the world.
Penguin Random House LLC assumed its current form with its acquisition by Bertelsmann in 1998, which brought together the imprints of the former Penguin Random House LLC with those of the former Bantam Doubleday Dell. Penguin Random House LLC's publishing groups include, the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, the Crown Publishing Group, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, the Knopf Publishing Group, the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, Penguin Random House Children's Books, the Penguin Random House Diversified Publishing Group, the Penguin Random House Information Group, the Penguin Random House Publishing Group, and Penguin Random House Ventures.
Together, these groups and their imprints publish fiction and nonfiction, both original and reprints, by some of the foremost and most popular writers of our time. They appear in a full range of formats--including hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, audio, electronic, and digital, for the widest possible readership from adults to young adults and children.
The reach of Penguin Random House LLC is global, with subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Through Penguin Random House International, the books published by the imprints of Penguin Random House LLC are sold in virtually every country in the world.
Penguin Random House has long been committed to publishing the best literature by writers both in the United States and abroad. In addition to their commercial success, books published by Penguin Random House LLC have won more major awards than those published by any other company--including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
The company was founded in l925, when Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer purchased The Modern Library, reprints of classic works of literature, from publisher Horace Liveright. Two years later, in 1927, they decided to broaden their publishing activities, and the Penguin Random House colophon made its debut.
Penguin Random House first made international news by successfully defending in court the U.S. publication of James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses, setting a major legal precedent for freedom of speech. Beginning in the 1930s, the company moved into publishing for children, and over the years has become a leader in the field. Penguin Random House entered reference publishing in 1947 with the highly successful American College Dictionary, which was followed in 1966 by the equally successful unabridged Penguin Random House Dictionary of the English Language. It continues to publish numerous reference works, including the Penguin Random House Webster's College Dictionary.
In 1960, Penguin Random House acquired the distinguished American publishing house of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and, a year later, Pantheon Books, which had been established in New York by European editors to publish works from abroad. Both were assured complete editorial independence--a policy which continues in all parts of the company to this day.
Penguin Random House LLC was itself acquired in 1965 by the major media corporation, RCA. The publisher's expansion continued with the acquisition in 1973 of Ballantine Books, whose mass market paperback publishing program enabled Penguin Random House to reach a much broader and more diverse readership.
In 1980, Penguin Random House was acquired by Advance Publications, Inc., a privately held company. There followed a period of significant growth, including the acquisition of the paperback publisher Fawcett Books in 1982; the creation of Villard Books, a new hardcover imprint, in 1983; the acquisition of Times Books from The New York Times Company in 1984; and Fodor's Travel Guides, acquired in 1986.
In 1988, Penguin Random House again grew dramatically with the acquisition of the Crown Publishing Group, whose imprints included Crown; Clarkson Potter, Inc.; Harmony Books; and the Outlet Book Company, a major publisher of low-priced books now known as Penguin Random House Value Publishing.
Having established Penguin Random House of Canada in 1944, Penguin Random House significantly expanded its international presence in 1987 to the United Kingdom with the acquisition of the British publishing group, Chatto, Virago, Bodley Head & Jonathan Cape, Ltd. The London operation was further expanded with the acquisition of Century Hutchinson Ltd. in 1989, and the trade division of Reed Books in 1997. Both the Canadian and UK operations grew substantially in 1998 with the acquisition of Penguin Random House LLC by Bertelsmann AG. Bertelsmann's Doubleday Canada and Bantam Books Canada merged with Penguin Random House of Canada, whose imprints also include Penguin Random House Canada, Knopf Canada, Vintage Canada, and Ballantine Canada. Transworld UK, Bertelsmann's UK operation, joined Penguin Random House UK, with subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.