Authors Guild Calls for "Close Scrutiny" of Penguin Random Merger from the Government


Catching up from the storm, the Authors Guild posteda member alert on Monday saying that the proposed Penguin Random House merger "merits close scrutiny from antitrust officials at the Justice Department or the FTC." As Sarah Weinman reportedlast week, the Authors Guild filed an objection with the FTC over Bertelsmann's last big purchase, of Random House itself, in 1998, ultimately to no avail.

The Guild says the merged 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." Authors Guild president Scott Turow says in the post: "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."