Random House ‘Nets biz

Unveils new venture, e-publisher investment

NEW YORK — In the latest display of enthusiasm by a traditional publisher for the bold, new business of electronic publishing, Random House has unveiled subsid Random House Ventures. Division will invest in new technology companies complementing its parent’s print publishing program.

Announcement came on the same day Random House Ventures disclosed its first investment: a minority stake in Xlibris, a Philadelphia-based e-publisher. Random House spokesman Stuart Appelbaum refused to disclose the cost or size of the equity stake, which is reported to be 49%. But he assured Daily Variety that while two Random House execs will sit on Xlibris’ board, Random will have no editorial or operational input into the e-company’s day-to-day activity. “It’s really their business to run — which is a model for the new Random House Ventures subsidiaries,” he said.

As of today’s announcement, any author can have his book published by Xlibris for free; additional services, like a fancy cover or changes to the text, cost extra. “What we’re about is allowing everybody on earth to publish their books,” said Xlibris CEO and co-founder John Feldcamp.

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