Penguin Random House is forming a consumer marketing group to market its titles and authors. The initiate includes enhanced development of digital programs, platforms, and partnerships. This will mean better sales for authors, expanded readership and easier discovery for readers, and better profits for the publisher. These kinds of initiatives are critical in a market where the number of indie bookstores have fallen dramatically in the past five years and where Amazon consumes a substantial portion of digital sales.
I believe a number of publishers are taking initiatives like the one you outline and for the reasons you describe.
They are. I’ve heard from so many clients over the past two years who are leaving publishing houses to self-publish and those who are just starting out who don’t want to bother approaching traditional publishers. But the reality is that their infrastructure helps readers discover new authors and new titles…and so they are still a strong option. These movements are a good step toward shoring up the weaknesses they’ve allowed to build up as they’ve struggled to stay in the game. It might turn into another time when traditional houses regain some of their former strengths…which is good for authors of all kinds!