Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Faster than a Speeding Bullet … The Publishing World Waltz

Who would have thought … two giants in publishing are doing the merger waltz? —this times it’s Penguin and Random House. The negotiations are on for what the surviving and new publishing company will look like including who will be exiting the building. The new company, to be called Penguin Random House, will boast $4 billion in revenue and control about 25 percent of the worldwide consumer book market.

There will be obvious changes: to save money … to make money. When two companies, any company that has a similarity such as Penguin and Random House, Noah’s Ark doesn’t work. Picture this: Between the two, there are over 9,000 employees across the globe. Some, maybe plenty, are going to go—it’s the Noah’s Ark factor. Expect to see imprints disappear; with them, editors will get the pink slip. The multiple duplicate accounts—the warehousing, distribution, accounting, technology and operations in general … all will most likely come under a single operation when it’s over.

Negotiating with the other giant, Amazon, will become interesting. Whether these two get into a pissing publishing match over just how much the discounts will be—it’s clear that it will have a dominoing effect within the entire industry.

And negotiating with authors—may get a bit of a shorter stick—if a deal is struck, the terms may not be as “kind” to the author if there had been other publishers vying for the book.

Not only is the author … the creator of the product that these two Goliaths sell … in for a squeeze, so is the literary agent. How so? Most likely, the number of agents will be further reduced—the remaining agents will be “thrilled” to get any type of deal that is offered by the reduced filed of editors acquiring books. For the biggies, it means fewer auctions for agents to create. In the end, less leads to less.

With the recent announcement that Wal-Mart will no longer offer to sell into Amazon’s Kindle market, the Goliaths will continue their battles. Where next will the speeding bullet land?


Dr. Judith Briles 
The Book Shepherd - The Author and Publishing Expert

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