We here at Geekosystem may have spent most of yesterday arguing about what the newly-formed Penguin Random House publishing company should have made their logo (top idea: a penguin rising out of a house like the sun?), but the merger of two of the Big Six publishing companies does have implications beyond what could have been a much cooler new name.
With the publishing world and old-school book lovers everywhere up in arms about the growing prevalence of eBooks, sites like Amazon have more power than ever before in the literary world. Yet this merger, first announced last October, will give newly minted Penguin Random House control of over 25% of the entire book market in the United States. Which…seems like a lot?
One effect of the merger is that the new company will operate under the same restrictions and regulations that Penguin has had to follow since December, when it (along with several other large publishing houses) got dinged by a Department of Justice lawsuit over eBook price fixing. Since the company has already been rapped on the knuckles over its pricing practices with that suit, we can expect that when it comes time to negotiate new contracts with retailers, the prices of eBooks are likely to decrease, marking a pretty rare case of a big merger being good news for consumers. Maybe.
However, the news may not be as positive for workers of either company. Smaller imprints within Penguin and Random House that were previously competing are likely to be merged, which means redundancies will be eliminated. By which of course we mean “people’s jobs” will be eliminated, which sucks. The merger could also affect distribution of books, making some warehouses unnecessary even while the means to ship and store physical books diminishes with the rising prominence of eBooks.
- Department of Justice warns Apple, publishers regarding ebook collusion and price-fixing
- Report: Amazon to launch “five or six” new Kindles
- Amazon deals with reluctant publishers by signing authors directly