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Penguin USA Penguin USA i(A99170 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. Penguin Group (USA); Penguin Putnam)
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BiographyHistory

This history is primarily about Penguin USA. See also individual entries for Penguin Books Ltd (UK) and Penguin Australia.

Formed in 1996 following the merger between Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group, Penguin Group (USA), is American affiliate of the Penguin Group, and a leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publisher in its own right. Since 1970 Penguin has been owned by Pearson plc (formerly Pearson Longman Ltd), and an international media company with market-leading businesses in education, business information, and consumer publishing. Penguin Group (USA) publishes under a wide range of prominent imprints and trademarks, among them Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset and Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne. The US affiliate is a global leader in children's publishing through its Young Readers Group, with preeminent imprints such as Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset and Dunlap, Philomel, Puffin, Speak, Firebird, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Razorbill, Viking, and Frederick Warne.

The history of Penguin's publishing operations in the USA begins in 1975 when Penguin Books Ltd formed an alliance with the prestigious New York-based Viking Press. Viking's impressive group of authors, including John Steinbeck, Saul Bellow and Arthur Miller gave Penguin a strong presence in the U.S. market for the first time. Viking's children's division, with more Caldecott and Newbery awards than any other publishing house, was similarly significant given its list of children's classics, including the Madeline books, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings.

In the early 1980s Penguin began to re-assess its international branding and in 1984 made the first of a number of major initiatives when it changed the name of the Allen Lane imprint to The Viking Press. This move towards a more simplified and analogous structure was seen as pivotal to Penguin's continued growth. In a press release dated 17 February 1984, the company's Chief Executive Officer , Peter Mayer, said that "this simplification has an inherent logic for [Penguin's] international publishing, authors, as well as for the book trade and readers." He went on to note that of the Penguin's international structure of subsidiary companies (citing Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States), would retain their 'independent and individual editorial choice' thus continuing to allow for widely divergent paperback lists and separate publishing contracts" (ctd. Keneally Papers, National Library of Australia).

In 1986, two years after the Allen Lane/Viking Press merger, Penguin acquired New American Library and Dutton Books and assimilated them into its expanding US operations. The inclusion of Dutton Children's Books (publisher of the classic Winnie-the-Pooh stories and winner of numerous children's awards, including several Caldecott and Newbery medals), and the acquisition of The Dial Press, another prestigious children's imprint with numerous awards, cemented Penguin's reputation as one America's leading children's publishers.

Between ca. 1985 and 1996 the various American-owned imprints and divisions were collectively known as Penguin USA. In 1996, however, Penguin acquired the Putnam Berkley Group to formed the new corporation Penguin Putnam Inc.

The late 1990s saw the company continue to expand its operations. In 1998 Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers announced the formation of a new imprint, Phyllis Fogelman Books. The following year Penguin Putnam acquired The Avery Publishing Group, which published books on health, fitness and other self-help topics.

In 2000 Penguin Group (USA) created a partnership between Penguin Putnam Inc and Alloy Online Inc. to establish the teen imprint, AlloyBooks, while also establishing a new adult imprint, called BlueHen Books. Since then other US imprints have included Portfolio (2001), dedicated business book publisher; and Firebird (2002), which focuses on science fiction and fantasy designed to appeal to both teenagers and adults. 2002 also saw Prentice-Hall Press, formerly the trade imprint of Pearson's Prentice Hall Direct division, move to Penguin Group USA.

In 2003 Pearsons plc implemented a strategy that unifies the various international Penguin divisions as a single brand. Each of the international operations had its name changed to Penguin Group, followed by the name of that country in brackets. Thus Penguin USA is now Penguin Group (USA).

In addition to its publishing activities penguin Group (USA) also Penguin Group (USA) also operates its own speaker's bureau that books speaking engagements for many of the publisher's authors.

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Last amended 12 Mar 2013 14:01:11
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