Penguin cuts a fine figure at 60

The article about Penguin’s 60th anniversary (MW January 6) reported accurately on many of the promotion and publicity activities we will be undertaking to celebrate this year, but fared less well in its reporting of Penguin’s financial situation.

The implication of the quoted figures is that, to use your reporter’s phrase, “investment in Penguin is also timely”.

Had your reporter checked the most recent figures for Penguin with us, as she meticulously did in relation to promotional campaign details, then it would have informed her that:

* Rather than making an operating loss of ú7m in the first half of 1994, Penguin in fact made a profit of ú3.2m

The figures quoted relate to Pearson’s entire book publishing operation. It is not unusual for companies especially in the academic and professional sector to incur losses in the first half of the year which are irrelevant compared to profits earned in the second half of the year, as the ú102.4m profit for the full year of 1993 shows only too well.

* The Penguin Group’s own profit for the whole of 1993 was a record figure of ú32.3m.

Andrew Welham

Director of marketing & new media

Penguin Books

London W8

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