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Data Testimonials

Our working world is becoming ever more digital, and it is our mission to embrace the opportunities opened up by new technologies. Because of our global reach and different divisions, there is an immense variety of projects around data at Bertelsmann. Find out more about the importance of data science in the context of an international media, services and education company.

Sarah Cox

Penguin Random House

Why is data important for your division?

Penguin Random House is the world’s largest trade publisher, and we want to make sure that we’re connecting readers to the books that they’re going to love. Whether we’re building a recommendation system for a personalized book-searching experience, developing a pricing or marketing strategy, or making any business decision where information can bring an advantage, having and using data is the most critical piece.

How is data being applied in your division?

We’re doing a lot of really interesting work with data right now. We’re building a system that not only finds the best pricing strategy for our books, but recalibrates itself every few weeks to stay optimized. We’re developing processes to help readers discover their perfect next read. We are understanding demand patterns and optimizing our supply chain to make sure that booksellers everywhere have the books that our readers want in stock. We’ve mapped our books into high-dimensional space and use that information to generate all kinds of insights. There’s so much more that we would like to do to help us understand and serve our readers, authors, and booksellers better.

What role does data play in your job?

As a data scientist, data is present in everything I do. In a broad sense, I develop tests and conduct research into pricing strategies for Penguin Random House digital titles, and I build and contribute to software to apply those findings automatically.

Right now I’m digging deeply into the ways that readers consume series of books, especially series that don’t have a strict reading order. Do they prefer reading these series in a certain order, and is that order different from what we’ve suggested? Are there groups of books that readers consume as though they are series, and should we market, price, and publish them that way? It’s a fun challenge asking and answering these questions at scale.

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