Makinson predicts "dark clouds" for 2012 book trade

Penguin chief executive John Makinson has said he sees "dark clouds" on the horizon for the book business in 2012. He also said Penguin’s publishing list for the fourth quarter, though strong, was not as strong as the “truly extraordinary” list last year, which included Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute Meals.

According to a Reuters report, the Penguin c.e.o. said at the London leg of the Reuters Global Media Summit: "Last year, we had a truly extraordinary fourth quarter. We don't expect publishing performance in the fourth quarter to be quite as strong as in the fourth quarter of 2010, but it won't be bad.” He pointed to books such as Lee Evans' autobiography, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Tom Clancy's latest novel as likely highlights of Penguin's Christmas offering.

He added: "There are things that influence the size and shape of the industry, and clearly we're going through an enormous amount of change in that respect at the moment."

Looking to 2012, Makinson said he saw "dark clouds", reports Reuters.

He added: "This is a business which has always been driven very much by supply rather than demand factors. Consumer taste doesn't actually change all that much but what does change is the availability of books in different channels.

"It is tougher to predict how we will be 12 months from now, as an industry, than pretty much any time that I can remember."

This follows Penguin's nine-month interim results, reported on 3rd November, which showed overall sales were flat for Penguin to 30th September, with e-book sales more than doubling over the same period.