Design and Engineering
Penguin Random House
A Home For Random House Authors
Actually, make that 27 million homes.
Penguin Random House prints 15,000 new titles every year. For each of those titles, there’s an author who wants to build a site that promotes their book and connects with their fans. In the past, each website was built from scratch using a mishmash of tools, designers and systems. This burdened the PRH tech team with an enormous amount of technical maintenance and support. Just to get things off the ground, authors had to become savvy managers of freelance designers to create their site. Random House’s marketing team challenged us to create a new system for them to easily spin-up new sites, customized to meet every author’s needs.
In This Case Study
Design Systems, No Coding Required
We built a huge library of parts that could go into the design. Each component of the site has its own variety of options: from the navigation to the layout. We souped-up the WordPress customizer to make it easy for a marketer or author to create a fresh website for their book. As a result, a process that once took weeks now takes minutes. Try (a simplified version of) it for yourself!
Built Instantly From a Universe of Data
Each site isn’t built entirely by hand. After team makes key stylistic choices , most of the pages are generated automatically using data from the Random House API. Starting with an author, we can pull data about their books to populate each section.
The result is a complete site full of relevant information: from an author’s bio to a complete listing of all of their titles. The system will generate as many pages as it needs to accommodate an author’s books, formats, blog posts, and more.
The sites give authors tons of options to make it their own. They can customize book pages with new info, add events to promote their book tour and blog to keep in touch with readers.
Hundreds of New Sites and Counting
The new system has been a smash hit with authors and marketers alike. Since its debut, Random House has created over 150 new sites for authors like Andy Weir, Billy Collins and Rita Mae Brown.