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.

HarperCollins Could Remove all of its Books From Amazon

Here we go again.

Everyone knows about the Amazon/Hachette dispute from last year in which it appeared the Big Five publisher was standing up to the internet giant. But the dispute was ultimately resolved when the sides reached a new agreement. One that Simon & Schuster and Macmillan also agreed to. But now HarperCollins comes along and thinks they’re different from everyone else.

In what world would it be a good idea to remove all of their books from Amazon? Maybe the CEO of Hachette left his position there and made the move to HarperCollins? Or maybe there are just some idiots running one of the biggest publishers in America who actually think this is a good business move. I have no idea.

Word on the street is that HarperCollins would try sending its readers to its own website that was made to decrease its dependency on Amazon. But how many people are buying books directly from publishers? I’m not and I don’t think I know anyone who does.

I don’t see this ever actually happening, but who knows? Crazier things have happened.


On this day in 2014 I published Coming up With the Perfect Title for Your Books is…Nearly Impossible.