Vintage Books

Monday, November 27, 2006

Random House

Random House is a publishing division of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann based in New York City. It was founded in 1927 by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, two years after they had acquired the Modern Library imprint. Cerf is quoted as saying, "We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random," which suggested the name Random House. Bertelsmann acquired it amid controversy in 1998.

Its U.S. imprints currently include the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, the Crown Publishing Group, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, the Knopf Publishing Group, the Random House Audio Publishing Group, the Random House Diversified Publishing Group, the Random House Information Group, the Random House Ballantine Publishing Group, and Random House Ventures. Del Rey Manga publishes English manga in North America. In the UK, The Random House Group Limited comprises four divisions with different publishing remits: Random House, Transworld, Ebury and Random House Children's Books. Its imprints include Jonathan Cape, Harvill Secker, Chatto and Windus, Vintage, Pimlico, Yellow Jersey, Century, Willian Heinemann, Hutchinson, Arrow, Random House Audio Books, Random House Business Books, Ebury Press, Vermilion, Rider, Bantam Press, Doubleday, Corgi, Black Swan, Fodor, Time Out, WaterBrook Press and Mainstream. Tanoshimi publishes English manga in United Kingdom and Ireland.

Random House entered reference publishing in 1947 with the American College Dictionary, which was followed in 1966 by its first unabridged dictionary. It publishes today the Random House Webster's Unabridged and Random House Webster's College dictionaries, probably the main competitors for Merriam-Webster reference titles.

The distinguished American publishers Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Pantheon Books were acquired by Random House in 1960 and 1961, respectively; works continue to be published under these imprints with editorial independence. Random House has been the distributor for Shambhala Publications since 1974. Within the last year, they have begun distributing Rizzoli Books, National Geographic Books, Steerforth Press, Wizards of the Coast, Vertical Books, Welcome Books, Taunton Press, New York Review of Books and Rugged Land.

The publisher's main U.S. office is located at 1745 Broadway in Manhattan, in a 684-foot tower completed in 2003 and spanning the entire west side of the block between West 55th Street and west 56th. Its lobby showcases floor-to-ceiling glassed-in bookcases filled with books published by the company's many imprints.

One of its major competitors in Germany is the Holtzbrinck Group.