Authors Guild Extremely Critical of Penguin Random House Merger

Posted on November 5, 2012

The Authors Guild is not happy with the prospect of a merger between Penguin and Random House, which it calls "unsettling".

The Guild addressed the notion that the newly merged company will control 25% of the book market. It says that Penguin and Random House's estimate of their market share is much lower than it really is: "The companies' share of the U.S. trade book market for fiction and narrative non-fiction likely exceeds 35%. Their share in certain submarkets is no doubt even higher. The merger merits close scrutiny from antitrust officials at the Justice Department or the FTC."

Authors Guild president Scott Turow said, "Survival of the largest appears to be the message here. Penguin Random House, our first mega-publisher, would have additional negotiating leverage with the bookselling giants, but that leverage would come at a high cost for the literary market and therefore for readers. There are already far too few publishers willing to invest in nonfiction authors, who may require years to research and write histories, biographies, and other works, and in novelists, who may need the help of a substantial publisher to effectively market their books to readers."

The Authors Guild says it will have more to say on the subject in the weeks ahead.

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