PenguinRandomHouse | New York, 04/16/2020

Penguin Random House In The U.S.: Solidarity In The Crisis

CEO Madeline McIntosh connecting with employees and their pets via video.
Dolly Parton Reads from "The Little Engine That Could" on YouTube and Social Media Channels.
Virtual Author Event on Zoom (April 16, at 8PM EDT)

Subject: Corona, Employees, Media & Services
Country: USA
Category: Project

Protecting employees from the coronavirus while continuing to bring the publishing group’s books and readers together can be a difficult task. In tackling it, Penguin Random House U.S. relies on communication and information as well as virtual events to bring authors and readers together.

The U.S. and especially New York City have developed into the global hotspot of the coronavirus pandemic. For weeks, our employees at Penguin Random House U.S. have nevertheless been doing everything they can to not only ensure the health of employees, but also to keep bringing the publishing group’s books and authors together with their readers. With regard to the protection of the staff, the management as well as the publishing group’s specially established Covid-19 Task Force and a related Steering Committee are focusing primarily on informative and regular communications. Madeline McIntosh, CEO of PRH U.S., has already written several emails to employees to inform them about measures and initiatives. On April 2, she answered employees’ questions in an open video conference. McIntosh has also written update emails to authors, agents, and readers.

One of the publishing group’s most important measures for staying in touch with external target groups is the marketing campaign “#BooksConnectUs,” which aims to bring readers together with each other online and also with authors via the “#BooksConnectUsLive” campaign. Authors from all PRH U.S. publishing groups are involved in the online live events, including Jacqueline Woodson, who read from her book “Each Kindness”; Ken Follett, who answered questions via Facebook Live; and the “Big Ideas Night: The Asian American Experience” with Kevin Nguyen, Cathy Park Hong and Mira Jacob.

The U.S. children’s book publishers Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books teamed up with “Parents” magazine to launch the Read Together, Be Together (#ReadTogetherBeTogether) campaign to promote reading with young children. The campaign, which was planned before the Corona crisis, was originally scheduled to start in the summer, but was brought forward due to breaking events. It involves bestselling and award-winning authors and famous personalities reading stories for children every day. Further support for parents and teachers is provided by the PRH website Brightly, which specializes in reading tips for every phase of a child’s development. It has launched the “Reading Through It Together” portal. It is aimed at Brightly’s target group and offers educational and entertainment content, videos and teaching materials, prepared for each age group. Brightly seeks to support online learning for all the children who are affected by the school closures. In parallel to this, Penguin Kids has launched the “Live Story Time Read Aloud” format, which is distributed via the publisher’s Instagram and Facebook channels, and offers a new story for reading out loud every day.

The individual publishing groups of PRH U.S. are also organizing virtual reading events and activities. The Random House Group, for example, is hosting a series of events, primarily distributed via social media, that range from “Lunch & Learn” and “Random Pantry” to “Coffee with...”. The PRH Audio audiobook publishing group goes one step further: through its own app “Volumes,” it offers a number of its titles for free download and listening. All these campaigns have a common goal, which Madeline McIntosh formulated in a letter to employees at the end of March: “No matter what, the work we do matters. Books do, indeed, connect us.”