When I first saw this story last week it immediately struck me as odd. Penguin ardently (and blithely) announcing their new blog as the first from a major publisher. This couldn't be true. And indeed it isn't as this lovingly maintained but nevertheless short list of publisher blog sites attests. Why say this? Do they not even know of Carl Lennertz and his blog? Have they not been scouting the competition at Simon & Schuster? Perhaps they found the content at OUP too advanced? And of course, they would never have heard anything of Richard Charkin over at Macmillan - he is in England so perhaps that doesn't count in some way.
It does beg the question, that if the people over at Penguin could be this oblivious what will they have to tell us that could be relevant? Personally, I don't look forward to a 'corporate' site - why doesn't every author have their blog at author.penguin.com? They could stuff these sites with all kinds of interesting items supporting the books and the author. That is far more compelling than what they seem to have come up with nervousness or not. What Penguin can do at a corporate level is to guide visitors to author sites to other related authors via linking, related information, rethinking the book guides to incorporate more compare and contrast, etc. It also seems to me that the whole announcement is one big yawn. The only people that may have noticed this at all are "in the trade." Are we their target audience or are they going for readers/consumers? It is hard to know at this point but I don't see consumers rushing to the penguin blog and I am not at all sure about us "in the trade".