March 27, 2007
Warner Books Gets New Company Name: Grand Central Publishing
There was a great article by Julie Bosman in the New York Times yesterday about Warner Books’ decision to change its company name to Grand Central Publishing.
Warner’s recent acquisition by Hachette Livre of France meant that they had to find a new corporate moniker by 2011 as they are leaving the Time Warner Group.
Kier Graff at the Likely Stories book blog says Grand Central feels "a bit bland and predictable" at its clear association with New York and suggested some fairly “out there” alternatives created by an anagram generator. For example, "An Sober Work."
This corporate name change had to happen on numerous levels and reflects some of the reasons companies rename themselves. In this case, the Warner Books name change was prompted by an acquisition (the biggest reason of all for corporate name changes), moving to a new location, and a rebranding initiative.
Warner has been searching for a new name since January, but in the end they decided to go with publisher Jamie Raab's choice which was selected over “Blue Heron” and “Jack Straw.” I would argue that both of these names would make Warner sound like an indy press. Also, the name "Jack Straw" is the name of Britain’s former foreign secretary and it’s also a Grateful Dead song.
The new company name reflects the company’s new location on 237 Park Avenue close to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. It has also dropped the word “books,” using the more inclusive word “publishing,” which is “a gesture to electronic and other emerging forms of publishing that go beyond ink and paper,” said Raab.
Since the United States’ book industry is still very much centered around New York, it comes as no surprise that one of the city’s greatest landmarks would be used as a publishing brand name.
Bosman also notes that book publishers have a very hard time trying to stand out to readers, most of whom couldn't care less who printed the books they love. Hopefully, this name change will afford Grand Central Publishing some more brand name recognition among consumers.
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