Sunday, October 5, 2008

Darwinian Penguins

In a twist of art-will-eat-itself irony, I have just heard  the marketing approach of the publisher of the Rough Guide to Evolution described as "Darwinian"!

Rough Guides was founded by Mark Ellingham and started out in the early 1980s as an independent company. However, by 2002 the company had been sold to Penguin Books (which by then had been an imprint of Pearson for over thirty years), so in effect my publisher is Penguin.

And here is how Marketing Week opened one of its articles at the beginning of last month:
"Book publisher Penguin's Darwinian approach to developing its business in a sector steadfastly regarded as traditional has put it at the forefront of digital innovation."
The article continued with two major new items: Penguin's partnership with a dating agency,, with the aim of putting books back into courtship and Penguin's exploration of "crowdsourcing", i.e. massive collaborative Wikipedia-like authorship in the creation of  a novel in the Million Penguins project. Follow this link to read the full article from Marketing Week.

Ironic that Penguin Books should be at the forefront of Darwinian publishing, when their avian namesakes in the March of the Penguins have been taken by some as a revelation from God on how we should behave (or maybe that was just a story stirred up by the BBC?).

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