READ­ING THEWORLD

Pen­guin Ran­domHouse CEO is ex­cited to bring for­eign ti­tles to China and take Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture ev­ery­where. Mei Jia reports.

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - Con­tact the writer at mei­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Markus Dohle knew he has “the best job in the world” when Dan Brown knocked on his of­fice door in 2008. The CEO of the world’s largest trade-book pub­lisher, Pen­guin Ran­dom House, was then CEO of Ran­dom House. It was five years be­fore the two groupsmerged­when­the best­selling writer popped in to meet Dohle.

“It was my first day at Ran­dom House,” he re­calls dur­ing his re­cent visit to Bei­jing.

“I came into the of­fice at 8 in the morn­ing on June 2. One hour later, Brown came in and said he was drop­ping by and wanted to in­tro­duce him­self.”

Dohle re­sponded: “‘I think I have to in­tro­duce­my­self to you.’” The two be­came friends. “Till to­day, we catch up as of­ten as pos­si­ble.”

Dohle be­lieves that stay­ing con­nected with peo­ple, prod­ucts, ser­vices and the in­dus­try is cru­cial to any leader.

“Stay­ing in touch with au­thors es­pe­cially im­por­tant,” he says.

That’s why he met Grand Slam cham­pion Li Na dur­ing his China visit. Pen­guin brought her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Li Na: My Life, to English­language read­ers.

Dohle says he feels priv­i­leged to have met Li, as a tennis fan and a pro him­self in his younger days.

“Pub­lish­ing is a peo­ple busi­ness,” he says.

Dohle and his team up­graded the in­te­grated group’s logo and have sus­tained a mo­men­tum of sell­ing more than 700 mil­lion books a year, from printed to au­dio to e-books. They’ve pub­lished more than 60 No­bel win­ners’ works, and their au­thors keep sweep­ing awards.

The group earned $3.76 bil­lion in 2015. It’s among the United States’ most pop­u­lar em­ploy­ers.

Its core com­prises 250 smaller pub­lish­ing brands and im­prints from dif­fer­ent ter­ri­to­ries.

Dohle got his Chi­nese name, Du Le­meng (mean­ing a happy com­bi­na­tion or al­liance), while vis­it­ing the coun­try in 2012, dur­ing the merger’s fi­nal ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Dohle sees the merger as a com­bi­na­tion of two com­mu­ni­ties into a fam­ily of creative homes that’s suc­cess­ful “both on the busi­ness side and on the cul­tural side”. The in­te­gra­tion “in­creases our pres­ence in the tar­geted growth mar­kets of China, Brazil and In­dia”.

The se­cret to man­ag­ing such a large com­mu­nity, he says, is “to run a large place like a small place, in that you can re­main nim­ble and flex­i­ble”. is Markus Dohle,

He has or­ga­nized the group, which op­er­ates in 25 coun­tries and re­gions, in a de­cen­tral­ized way.

That’s be­cause he be­lieves pub­lish­ing is a lan­guage and rights busi­ness that sup­ports lo­cal cul­tures, voices and tal­ent.

The group has con­tin­ued to learn about the Chi­nese mar­ket and an­tic­i­pates big op­por­tu­ni­ties as more Chi­nese read English-lan­guage ti­tles, he says.

It plans to bring global best-sellers to China, while tak­ing more Chi­nese ti­tles in­ter­na­tional.

Dohle is proud of pub­lish­ing Mo Yan over­seas and says the group is plan­ning more Chi­nese-lan­guage ti­tles, es­pe­cially given ris­ing de­mand for chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture.

“Pub­lish­ing is less a global busi­ness but more a rather de­cen­tral­ized, creative and multi-lo­cal one,” he says.

“You can only do it bot­tom up. You can’t do it top down. That’s how we ap­proach our in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses and ap­proach China, too, with our lo­cal pub­lish­ing here.”

He in­sists print will sur­vive, de­spite the rise of dig­i­tal plat­forms, since 2009, when pa­per books be­gan to de­cline.

“My ba­sic strate­gic as­sump­tion is that print will al­ways be im­por­tant— al­ways. Not for 50 years or 100 years — al­ways. And dig­i­tal is be­com­ing more and more im­por­tant. There will be a healthy co­ex­is­tence be­tween the two,” he says. He was proved cor­rect. In 2015, print­ing in­creased by more than 6 per­cent in theUnit­edKing­dom and about 3 per­cent in the United States.

Dohle was born in Arns­berg, Ger­many, in 1968 and trained in in­dus­trial en­gi­neer­ing and man­age­ment at the Univer­sity of Karl­sruhe.

He says ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent him.

He’s still deeply in­spired and ex­cited by the op­por­tu­nity to pub­lish great sto­ries af­ter 22 years in the sec­tor.

he CEO leads such cam­paigns as “Give a book” and the Rea­dathon, and sup­ports li­braries.

“We see our­selves as a creative force and as a cul­tural in­sti­tu­tion, not as a cor­po­ra­tion. Our larger pur­pose is to cre­ate the fu­ture of books and love for read­ing in our so­ci­ety for gen­er­a­tions to come,” he says.

“We know if we ac­tu­ally achieve that large pur­pose, then — as a by-prod­uct and a log­i­cal con­se­quence — we’re also go­ing to be fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful.”

Print will al­ways be im­por­tant — al­ways. Not for 50 years or 100 years — al­ways. And dig­i­tal is be­com­ing more and more im­por­tant. There will be a healthy co­ex­is­tence be­tween the two.” CEO of Pen­guin Ran­dom House Spring­steen.

for

— Ma­ture Bruce worked to cap­i­tal­ize on his strengths while com­pen­sat­ing forimper­fect vo­cal tone.

— Among the bucket mo­ments: re­al­iz­ing a “teenage day­dream” while play­ing with Mick Jag­ger and Keith Richards.

Spring­steen’s Cal­i­for­nia phase yielded pic­ture-per­fect land­scape de­scrip­tions, though read­ers will spend more time hang­ing out in — no sur­prise — a dif­fer­ent state.

Gauzy, dream­like pho­tos in­side the cov­ers de­pict a van­ished era in Asbury Park, NewJersey, the hugely sym­bolic sea­side city of Spring­steen’s for­ma­tive mu­si­cal years.

Read­ers may need to buckle up for parts of this 508-page spin. He con­tem­plates some deeply per­sonal top­ics as a way of pro­vid­ing con­text for his art.

Spring­steen, 67, re­veals what he wishes he’d said af­ter the beloved Big Man was sub­jected to a sick­en­ing racial slur. He also shares the heart-wrench­ing hos­pi­tal scene when Clarence Cle­mons drew his last breath.

Then he can­didly dis­cusses his own har­row­ing health bat­tles.

Markus Dohle is proud of pub­lish­ing Mo Yan over­seas and says Pen­guin Ran­dom House is plan­ning more Chi­nese-lan­guage ti­tles, es­pe­cially given ris­ing de­mand for chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese ti­tles pub­lished by Pen­guin Ran­dom House cover a wide range, from lit­er­a­ture works by No­bel lau­re­ate Mo Yan to an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy by tennis cham­pion Li Na.

CFP

Rock leg­end Bruce

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