Random House CEO Dohle Gives 2010 Shout Outs to Bush, Blair, Digital Up 250%

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

Random House Chairman and CEO Markus Dohle issued his year-end letter today. It reads:

Markus Dohle

Markus Dohle

Dear Random House Colleagues,

The year-end is traditionally a time of reflection and celebration, and as 2010 comes to a close we can proudly look back upon a year of remarkable accomplishments: the breadth of Random House’s print and digital publishing, our tremendous achievements in sales and operations, and the quality of our corporate culture, with the enduring values of partnership, creativity, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility that we share with our parent company in its 175th anniversary. Strengthened by these values, we celebrate a good fiscal year for Random House worldwide despite the hurdle of ailing economies in most of our territories.

Our performance reflects our powerful publishing lineup, with megaselling titles across all our divisions through this year, especially in the fourth quarter. In the world’s two largest book markets we’ve published 2010’s biggest-selling nonfiction books: George W. Bush’s DECISION POINTS and DEUTSCHLAND SCHAFFT SICH AB by former German Federal Bank member Thilo Sarrazin, both million-copy-plus titles in the U.S. and Germany, respectively. Also released this fall, the hugely successful A JOURNEY: MY POLITICAL LIFE by Tony Blair, which set sales records upon its publication in the U.K., and is also a major international bestseller. LA CAÍDA DE LOS GIGANTES by Ken Follett, published by Random House Mondadori, is 2010’s biggest-selling Spanish-language novel. We expect that we’ll continue to enjoy huge sales in 2011 from this autumn’s books by Lee Child, Umberto Eco, Nora Ephron, Ina Garten, John Grisham, Stephen Hawking, Laura Hillenbrand, Lauren Kate, Nigella Lawson, Tim Mälzer and Eckart Witzigmann, Barack Obama, Terry Pratchett, and Jay-Z, among many others. The unequaled sales momentum for the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy has proven unstoppable these past twelve months and we are on course to sell 14 million copies in 2010 in multiformats in the U.S. — and 2 million more trade paperbacks and e-books in Germany.

We also celebrate a 2010 in which Random House extended and expanded our digital-publishing leadership cross-territorially: from Spain, where our e-book sales are just beginning, to the U.S., where our e-book sales continue their path of exponential growth. For some of our U.S. fall publication titles, nearly half of the overall first-week sales have been in the e-book format. Led by this upsurge, our worldwide digital sales for 2010 are projected to grow by 250 percent over 2009’s. With the coming proliferation of e-reading devices and e-bookstores in Germany, the U.K., Spain, and Latin America, we expect digital sales increases to resound globally.

Yet in this era of sweeping changes in how we publish, sell, and read books, our mission as book publishers remains the same: to bring the best stories to our readers, no matter the format. And with the emergence of new formats and new channels by which authors and their works can be accessed and discovered, our experience and expertise in every step of the publishing process have now become even more essential in our task of getting the stories we believe in to the largest potential readership. All this is possible because of your passion for and dedication to what you do every day: publish books that impact people’s lives.

This holiday season I thank you for your hard work, and I celebrate your enthusiasm for our books and your commitment to the collaborative culture we are embracing on a worldwide basis. It is this spirit that makes Random House the house I am proud to call home: where the best people and the best teamwork create the best books. Let’s continue this momentum into 2011. Have a healthy, safe, and enjoyable holiday break.

All the best in the New Year,


About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.