Random House was founded by Americans Bennett Cerf, Christopher Coombes and Donald Klopfer in 1927, two years after they acquired the Modern Library imprint. Cerf's quote,"We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random," gave the company its name.
Its American imprints currently include the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, the Crown Publishing Group including Three Rivers Press, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, the Knopf Publishing Group, the Random House Audio Publishing Group, the Random House Diversified Publishing Group, the Random House Information Group, the Random House Ballantine Publishing Group, and Random House Ventures. Del Rey Manga publishes English manga in North America.
Random House entered reference publishing industry in 1947 with the American College Dictionary. This was followed in 1966 by its first unabridged dictionary. Today it publishes the Random House Dictionary of the English Language and Random House Webster's College dictionaries. These reference guides are probably the main competition for the Merriam-Webster dictionaries.
Random House acquired American publishers Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Pantheon Books in 1960 and 1961, respectively. In 1974, the company began distributing for Shambhala Publications. They also currently distribute Rizzoli Books, National Geographic Books, Steerforth Press, Wizards of the Coast, Vertical Books, Welcome Books, New York Review of Books, Titan Books, Other Press, Hatherleigh Press and DC Comics. Random House was bought by Bertelsmann AG in 1998. The company soon went international.
The publisher's main U.S. office is located at 1745 Broadway in Manhattan, in the 684-foot Random House Tower, completed in 2003 and spanning the entire west side of the block between West 55th Street and west 56th. There are floor-to-ceiling glassed-in bookcases in the lobby filled with books published by the company's many imprints.
The Random House Group is one of the largest general book publishing companies in the UK. The Group is based in London and has subsidiary companies in Australia, New Zealand and India, with a joint venture in South Africa called Random House Struik.
The Group comprises six publishing companies with over 40 diverse and highly respected imprints and brand-name publishers including BBC Books, Jonathan Cape, William Heinemann, Chatto & Windus, Vintage, Corgi, Doubleday, Bantam Press and Virgin Books.
Random House Children’s Books publishes many bestselling authors including Philip Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson. The Random House Group distribution business services its own imprints as well as 60 other UK publishers.
Other International Branches
Verlagsgruppe Random House is the second largest book publisher in Germany. It had 40 imprints as of September 2008, some of these being historic publishing houses Goldmann and Heyne. Its headquarters are in Munich.
Random House also operates branches in New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea. In Australia offices are in Sydney and Melbourne. In New Zealand it is based in Glenfield, Auckland, while Random House's Indian headquarters are located in New Delhi.
Subsidiaries and affiliates
- Anchor Books
- Ballantine Books
- Bantam Books
- BBC Books
- Chatto and Windus
- Del Rey Books
- Dell Publishing
- The Doubleday Publishing Group
- Ebury Press
- Everyman Chess
- Random House Children's Books
- Strivers Row
- Time Out
- Villard (1983)
- Virgin Books
- Waterbrook Press
- Western Publishing Company (co-owner with Classic Media)
- Broadway Books
- Del Rey Manga (itself an imprint of Del Rey Books)
- Harvill Secker