Is This a Good Thing?

The consolidation of the publishing world continues. Recently it’s been announced that Penguin Random House, which is owned by a German conglomerate, will buy Simon & Schuster.

One may think, “so what?” Just a few short years ago Penguin and Random House were separate publishing companies, as in within the last decade. And now the behemoth that’s Penguin Random House is buying another large US publisher.

To attempt to answer my own question, I have no idea. There are reports that the new combined publisher would publish a third of all books in the US. That’s one part of it. But another aspect is for the readers and writers. Is a so-called mega publisher actually good for either group? Just being bigger doesn’t inherently mean better. Many times these types of mergers also talk about profitability. Again, profitable doesn’t always mean better.

The other aspect would be the employees. In most merger talks there always seems to be discussion about what happens to the existing workers. Often some guarantee is made, but history tells us these guarantees sometimes do and sometimes don’t work out.

I have no idea if this new merger will be good for publishing, authors, readers, or even shareholders. But it does indicate that the consolidation of the industry continues.

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