Penguin Random House expands in Southeast Asia

Penguin Random House opens new branch in Singapore

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Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade-book publisher, will launch PRH South East Asia in 2019. The announcement was made on  the eve of the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair. The new publisher will be based in Singapore with a mandate to discover and publish local and international voices across English-language adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction formats for Singapore and Malaysia, as well as from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Myanmar. It will start with a list of about 50 titles a year. According to PRH, the establishment of PRH South East Asia marks the extension and expansion of its commitment to local publishing in Asia, which is currently represented by its Penguin Random House North Asia and Penguin Random House India companies.

Markus Dohle, Penguin Random House’s worldwide CEO said, “We are pleased to announce the launch of our Singapore-based Penguin Random House South East publishing operation, which joins our thriving imprints in India and China and our growing English-language publishing programs worldwide.”

Gaurav Shrinagesh, chief executive officer, Penguin Random House India and South East Asia, will oversee PRH South East Asia’s company, which currently is named Penguin Books Singapore. Shrinagesh said, “These are exciting times for book lovers, as publishing transcends geographies and languages to open access to literature from all over the world. PRH’s expansion into South East will broaden our audience reach and local consumer insights to create publishing opportunities to further develop our editorial portfolio by supporting local authors in emerging markets and building their audiences.” As its first hire, Shrinagesh announced the appointment of Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar as executive editor, effective November 2018, reporting to him. She will be responsible for building the local publishing list, managing acquisitions, and author relationships, with close retailer and marketing support initially from PRH India. The publishing house said that “her network of relationships and keen knowledge of the region will be key in establishing a publishing presence for Penguin Random House in Southeast Asia.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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