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WORD: Embracing online exodus, Penguin launches website channels
By BPM Smith

Penguin Group USA launched a new series of online channels at its website today that includes video interviews, author readings, audio discussions of the classics and excerpts from its latest releases in a bid to grab the attention of readers who are increasingly on the Internet.

The channels, which include From the Publisher's Office, Screening Room, Radio Room and Reading Room, represents the book industry's latest online effort to reach readers. It comes just days after competitor Simon & Schuster announced a deal with Scribd to host an online storefront in a bid to capture online fans who want to read eBooks.
In today's environment of dwindling bookstore sales, shuttered newspapers and increased web traffic, most authors now have Facebook or Twitter pages where they reach out to readers. In addition, many book publicists are now targeting literary blogs and websites -- for example, WORD'N'BASS.com receives dozens of book ARCS from major and midsized publishers each year.
Penguin CEO David Shanks said that book publishers must try such online outreach to capture today's computer savvy readers.
"If we don't change, we're going to be like the dinosaurs," said Shanks. "This is a way for us to stay on the curve of where book marketing is going. It’s sort of a really interesting new world. Everybody’s learning. Some of these things will work. Some of them won't."
Penguin is hoping its spruced up website and online channels will work. Notable authors in Penguin’s current stable include Karen Dionne, Nora Roberts, Khaled Hosseini and Salmon Rushdie, among others. It also publishes the backlists of iconic writers like Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Friedrich Nietzsche and John Steinbeck.
For more information about Penguin and to enter the Publisher’s Office click here.


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