Random House of Canada

Random House of Canada
Parent company Random House, Inc.
Status Active
Founded 1944 (1944)
Country of origin Canada
Headquarters location 320 Front St W, Unit 1400, Toronto, ON M5V 3B6
Distribution Canada
Publication types Books
Imprints Many
Official website penguinrandomhouse.ca

Random House of Canada, established in 1944, is the Canadian distributor of Random House, Inc. It is made up of several imprints, including Anchor Canada, Bond Street, Doubleday Canada, Knopf Canada, Random House Canada, Seal Books, and Vintage Canada. Random House of Canada is also the sole owner of fellow Canadian publishing company McClelland & Stewart, having purchased the remaining 75% from the University of Toronto in 2011.[1]

Random House of Canada publishes both Canadian and international works. In 1986 the company established its own indigenous Canadian publishing program, and the company continues to encourage and support Canadian authors. They have published work by some of the country's most distinguished and notable authors, including Margaret Atwood, Farley Mowat, Yann Martel, Mordecai Richler, Douglas Coupland, and Michael Ondaatje.

Company profile

Random House of Canada was established in 1944 as the Canadian distributor of Random House Books. In 1986, Random House launched its extremely successful Canadian publishing program. In 1998, Random House (USA) merged with another major publishing company, Bantam Doubleday Dell. Due to this international merger, both companies' Canadian branches merged as well, publishing international titles in this country as well as maintaining their Canadian publishing program.[2]


Anchor Canada

Anchor Canada, created in 2001, is a publisher of trade paperback books of fiction and non-fiction. It produces paperback editions of many of Doubleday Canada's award-winning hardcover titles, such as Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by M.G. Vassanji, both of which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize (in 2000 and 2003 respectively).[3]

In 2002, Anchor Canada published its first original trade paperback titled The Notebooks: Interviews and New Fiction from Contemporary Writers. They have continued to publish originals since. Some of these titles include The Fabulous Girls Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh, and Lost in Mongolia by Colin Angus.[4]

A small collection of books published by the imprints of Random House of Canada.

Bond Street

Bond Street was created in 2006 by Brad Martin, President and CEO of Random House of Canada, and Maya Mavjee, then Executive Vice-President of Doubleday Publishing. This imprint publishes international fiction and non-fiction.

Bond Street has published many award-winning international books and brought them to a Canadian audience. Three of Bond Street's international titles have reached #1 on The New York Times bestseller list: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and Little Bee by Chris Cleave.[5][6][7]

Doubleday Canada

Established in the 1960s, Doubleday Canada publishes fiction titles from both new and established writers. It also publishes memoirs, social and political journalism, history, business, and sports books. Some of the imprint's most well-known Canadian authors include Pierre Burton and Nino Ricci. Doubleday Canada also works with new and emerging authors, such as Lynn Coady, Michael Crummey, and Michael Redhill.[8]

In 2010, the American company DB Media Distribution Inc. filed for bankruptcy. There was some confusion surrounding this incident, as DB Media Distribution Inc. owned and operated the similarly named "Doubleday Book Club". When they filed for bankruptcy, some believed that Doubleday Canada (the publisher) was going under; when in fact there was no connection between the two. This was discussed by Brad Martin, who stated, "We are saddened for those who worked there, but it has no direct connection to our business."[9]

Yann Martel, author of the Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, published by Knopf Canada.

Knopf Canada

Knopf Canada was established in 1991 as an editorially independent Canadian branch of Alfred A. Knopf. The parent company, founded in New York in 1915, teamed up with Louise Dennys in order to launch the Canadian house. Dennys was already the publisher of many major Canadian books, through her work at the Toronto publishing house Lester & Orpen Dennys.[10]

Some of Knopf's award-winning Canadian titles include Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler, the paperback edition of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and Life of Pi by Yann Martel. One of the most-awarded books to be published by Knopf Canada is Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, the Canadian author's first novel which was nominated for the Giller Prize in 1996, and went on to win the 1997 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book, the 1997 Canadian Authors Association Literary Award, and the 1998 Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for best fiction book of the year.[3][11][12][13]

In order to support new Canadian writers, in 1996, Knopf Canada established a program called "The New Face of Fiction". Each year editors choose between 1 and 4 books and promote them through the campaign in order to bring some of Canada's most talented new authors to national and international attention.[14]

Random House Canada

The Random House Canada imprint has been publishing works by Canadian and international authors since 1986.[15] One of their most well-known non-fiction titles is Shake Hands with the Devil by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, which won the 2003 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and 2004 Governor General's Literary Award for non-fiction.[16][17]

In 2009, two Random House Canada publications were nominated for the Giller Prize: The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, as well as that year's winner, The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre.[3] MacIntyre's win represents the first Giller Prize awarded for a book published by the Random House Canada imprint. In early 2011, Random House Canada announced it will be publishing MacIntyre's new novel, titled Why Men Lie.[18]

Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood, all of whose novels are published in Seal editions.

Seal Books

Seal Books was founded in 1977, stemming from a partnership between Bantam Books (an American-based company) and McClelland & Stewart. This imprint specializes in reprints of major fiction hardcover titles. However, Seal has always published original books; it is just not the imprint's main endeavor. In the 1980s, there was a Seal Books First Novel Award.[19][20] Many Seal Books were originally published as Doubleday hardcovers. When Seal Books merged with Random House of Canada, they began publishing mass-market titles from Random House of Canada and Knopf Canada as well.

Seal Books publishes work from many world-renowned Canadian authors. All of Margaret Atwood's novels are published in Seal editions. Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables and Emily novels, continues to be a bestseller for Seal Books.[21]

Vintage Canada

Vintage Canada was established in 1993. It takes its name from the New York-based publishing house, Vintage Books, which was formed in 1954 by Alfred A. Knopf. Vintage Canada publishes paperback editions, choosing primarily from titles originally published by Knopf Canada and Random House Canada. They also publish new books and modern classics originally published elsewhere, as well as some "Vintage Originals".[22]

Vintage Canada publishes three selections from the Canada Reads contest: 2002 winner In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje, 2006 winner A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, and 2010 winner Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner.[23][24][25]

Speakers House Canada

Speakers House Canada was launched in 2008 as a joint business and marketing venture between Random House of Canada and McClelland & Stewart. It is meant to serve as a vehicle for showcasing authors who are also in-demand speakers. Brad Martin, President and CEO of Random House of Canada, explained in a press release that authors were often asking for help managing a large number of speaking requests, and many did not have booking agents to handle the demand.[26]

Speakers House Canada organizes its many speakers into topics, and acts as a booking agent for them. While both companies have always promoted bookstore tours for publicity during a book launch, the establishment of Speakers House Canada allows authors to book a wider variety of paid speaking events over a longer period of time.[27]

Adaptations to new technology

In October 2010, Random House of Canada introduced the "Conversation Starters" application for Apple's iPhone and iPad. Users can test their knowledge and share "facts and tidbits" about their favourite books with friends via email, Facebook and Twitter. They can also read expanded selections from books. Lisa Charters, Senior Vice President of Digital at Random House of Canada explained that the company recognizes the trend toward Web-enabled smartphones and wanted to get involved by introducing a fun and interactive application.[28]

In February 2011, Random House of Canada announced a partnership with OverDrive, a digital distributor of downloadable e-books. Through this new distribution agreement, Canadian libraries, schools and colleges will have access to thousands of Random House titles through OverDrive's e-book catalog. Lisa Charters has stated that "Random House of Canada is committed to bringing the work of [their] authors to readers in whatever format the readers choose".[29]

In 2012, the company launched the online magazine Hazlitt, which features both fiction and non-fiction writing.[30]


  1. Ahearn, Victoria (10 January 2012). "Random House of Canada becomes sole owner of McClelland & Stewart". The Star. Toronto.
  2. "Random House of Canada Company Profile".
  3. 1 2 3 "Scotiabank Giller Prize Past Winners".
  4. "Anchor Canada".
  5. "BEST SELLERS: October 5, 2008". The New York Times. 2008-10-05. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  6. "BEST SELLERS: October 8, 2006". The New York Times. 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  7. Schuessler, Jennifer (2010-03-28). "BEST SELLERS: March 28, 2010". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  8. "Doubleday Canada".
  9. "Doubleday sets record straight: business thriving". CBC News. December 11, 2010.
  10. "Knopf Canada".
  11. "Commonwealth Foundation (1997 Winners)".
  12. "Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction".
  13. "CBA Libris Awards - Previous Winners and Nominees".
  14. "The New Face of Fiction".
  15. "Random House Canada".
  16. "Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing".
  17. "Governor General's Literary Award 2004 (Non-fiction)".
  18. "Random House Canada acquires new Linden MacIntyre novel". Quill and Quire. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  19. "Seal Books".
  20. "Seal First Novel Awards".
  21. "Seal Books".
  22. "Vintage Canada".
  23. "Canada Reads 2002". CBC News.
  24. "Canada Reads 2006". CBC News.
  25. "Canada Reads 2010". CBC News.
  26. "Random House of Canada and McClelland & Stewart Write a New Chapter in Book Promotion: Speakers House Canada" (PDF). Random House of Canada Limited. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  27. "New Agency to Promote Books for Authors". Marketing Magazine. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  28. "Random House of Canada rolls out apps to engage readers". Mobile Marketer. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  29. "Random House of Canada eBooks Coming to Canadian Libraries". MarketWire. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  30. "Random House of Canada launches new digital strategy with Hazlitt". National Post, August 23, 2012.
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