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Gail Rebuck: The Random House Group End Of Year Letter

Posted at 10:40AM Wednesday 19 Dec 2012

Dear all,

We are fast approaching the end of what has been one of the most remarkable years in our history. It started with the publishing phenomenon that is Fifty Shades and ends with a possible once-in-a-lifetime merger on the horizon. The breadth and depth of our lists have helped us secure 28 Sunday Times number ones – more than any other publisher – and we are the UK's number one publisher according to Bookscan. We continue to invest in the long term careers of our brand authors and to discover and nurture new voices such as Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry which was 2012's best-selling debut and RJ Palaccio's Wonder and Simon Mayo's Itch which were the number 1 and 2 Children's debuts. And let's not forget the 20 million copies by a certain debut author - EL James – whose Fifty Shades of Grey won Popular Fiction Book of the Year at the National Book Awards. There were also awards for New Writer of the Year for Rachel Joyce and Crime and Thriller of the Year for A Wanted Man by Lee Child whose Jack Reacher film is launched on Boxing Day. In the competitive Christmas non-fiction market we have seen great performances from a stellar line up including Rod Stewart, Nigella Lawson, Paul O'Grady, Bradley Wiggins – who we congratulate for winning the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year - and The Great British Bake-Off. Our commercial success was matched by literary critical acclaim with the Nobel Prize for Mo Yan, as well as the Samuel Johnson Prize for Wade Davis' Into the Silence and not forgetting the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for Rebecca Patterson's My Big Shouting Day.

We have continued to innovate in digital and new content platforms, with terrific success for our apps for Nigella, Ottolenghi, A Clockwork Orange and the award-winning Magic of Reality from Richard Dawkins and a Channel 5 commission for a 52-part TV series based on the Wanda books by Sue Hendra to be delivered by Random House Children's Screen Entertainment.

The publishing industry is changing, but what remains unchanged is our commitment to our authors and our talented teams who ensure we publish the best books and get them to as wide a readership as possible. By looking for imaginative ways to do this, we will continue to evolve our mission to promote the crucial future of long form reading and its cultural importance to society. Digital will become more and more important – it now accounts for over 22% of UK net sales – but print remains central to our future. The worldwide acclaim for Chris Ware's inimitable Building Stories is such a perfect example of what we can achieve through print with high production values.

Our authors and how we promote and protect their content remains at the heart of what we do and we will continually seek out new ways to better understand and reach readers. In the coming year, we will build on our innovative consumer insight projects from in-depth author specific investigations to our informative consumer segmentation studies which help us know more than ever before about who buys our books.

We will continue to use this information coupled with market data and our creative expertise to devise ever more imaginative and effective campaigns to aid the discovery of our books and content by the widest possible audiences on any platform, all over the world.

We will also continue to benefit from sharing our expertise across our Group with more cross-company initiatives such as our online crime community Dead Good and festive gifting campaign . We will also continue to support all retailers with our commitment to sustaining the future of physical retail and to expanding digital retail.

So, change is coming; but we know and understand change and we have a clear vision for our future.

We will be able to deliver our vision with the continued hard work, creativity and commitment that we have come to expect from you our talented teams. Every one of you has made such an important contribution to our success in this incredible year and I'm delighted to have this opportunity to thank you all.

I'd like to wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a restful New Year.

Very best wishes Gail

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