Penguin Random House to Control Quarter of World's Book Publishing After Merger; Bad News For Authors?


The Guardian reports that after Penguin and Random House's merger earlier this month into Penguin Random House, the company will control 25 percent of the world's book publishing industry. The new giant owns around 250 imprints and has a deep and varied back catalogue. All this will allow the company to publish 5,000 new books a year.

"It is bad news for writers," Andrew Franklin, founder and managing director of independent British publisher Profile Books, told The Guardian. "How do you publish 15,000 books well every year? How do you make each distinctive and important each year and make the author feel their book really matters? I have no idea and I think they have no idea either."

Read the original article here.

Another worry for authors is the possibility that Penguin Random House will cease to participate in auctions for new work, especially when the company would often be competing amongst its own imprints. This could lead to lower advances. But Penguin Random House responded by saying, "In the UK and worldwide, Penguin Random House will encourage healthy competition between its imprints."

Penguin was founded in 1935 by Allen Lane; Random House began in 1924 with publishers Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. The Guardian writes that the merger has created a "powerhouse with £2.6bn in sales a year".

Outside Penguin Random House, Amazon is raking in its own pile of profits, with sales totaling $15.7 billion in three months as of a report released last week. This heavy competition was more than likely one of the forces prompting Penguin and Random House to join forces.

Still others argue that the merger will expand the book market for independent publishers and that the industry is going through "an incredible state of flux" that is impossible to predict.

What do you think? Will this merger affect the quality and variety of fiction in the marketplace?