Our Thoughts on the Penguin/Random House Merger
The last few years have been scary for the literary world. In Australia, we’ve seen the likes of Angus & Robertson and Borders close up, two of our biggest bookstore chains in the country. Just a few weeks ago, the Dymocks on the corner of Hunter and Pitt Street shut up shop and now, if you peer through the glass, you can see empty shelves and two men at the back writing on a whiteboard. Last, but definitely the most important and most threatening – we’ve seen the introduction of the e-reader, the tablet and electronic books… Perhaps more commonly known as Amazon. That’s why the Penguin/Random House merger, is no surprise, but still a crippling blow to the publishing world.
It had been on the cards for a while, but now, the merge is official – temporary logo and all, and the question on all of our lips now is: What does this mean for the publishing world and everyone in it? [quote]The combined companies will control more than 25 percent of the book business, with more than 10,000 employees, 250 independent publishing imprints and about $3.9 billion in annual revenues,”[/quote] says Julie Bosman of The New York Times (see here for her full article). And isn’t that a terrifying thought? To have one super company that dominates the industry in such a way? The article goes on to quote Mike Shatzkin, (the founder and chief exec. of Idea Logical, a consultant to publishers), “If you’re a Penguin author or a Random House author, you should be pretty happy today… if you’re another publisher or an author with another publisher, you should be watching this with a wary eye.” And that just about sums up how we feel about this change.
The changes that the publishing industry has experienced in the last couple of years have been phenomenal. The e-book craze, has really only just begun, and we’re sure there’s plenty more change coming our way in the pipeline. We just hope that the independent publishers, and the authors, don’t lose out.