Justice Department sues Penguin Random House over Simon & Schuster case

Many of the most sought-after books are auctioned off, with several publishing houses bidding against each other. But some publishers do...


Many of the most sought-after books are auctioned off, with several publishing houses bidding against each other. But some publishers do not allow different brands within the same company to participate in an auction. The Penguin Random House rules allowed for some internal competition, but only if there was an outside party involved as well – say, Knopf and Riverhead, both owned by Penguin Random House, could compete as long as there was another. in-game publishing house.

In September, Markus Dohle, Managing Director of Penguin Random House, hosted a virtual meeting with literary agents in an effort to address these concerns, featuring books by Barack and Michelle Obama – some of the biggest blockbusters of recent years – visible behind him. He said the Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster footprints would still be able to bid against each other if they were part of the same company. In its statement on Tuesday, Penguin Random House said this would be true “up to a level of advance well over $ 1 million.”

Some in publishing see these internal bidding rules as cold comfort considering the scale Penguin Random House has already reached and the market share it would gain if the two companies combine.

“It’s basically about closing the barn door after the horse has locked itself,” said Ayesha Pande, founder of the Ayesha Pande literary agency.

Penguin Random House, which is owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, said Simon & Schuster and Simon & Schuster together would account for less than 20% of U.S. general interest publishing revenue. This data is taken from the Association of American Publishers, a trade association that examines the entire book market in the United States. NPD BookScan, which tracks print books sold by most U.S. retailers, said the two publishers’ market share was significantly higher, at around 27% of books sold in the first nine months of this year.

Both companies also have significant distribution operations, and Penguin Random House has by far the most sophisticated printing, warehousing and shipping operations, which has helped it overcome the supply chain crisis better than some of its competition. Penguin Random House said the merger of the two companies would be a boost for the authors, as its distribution services would be available for what are now Simon & Schuster books, “making it easier to find new titles and less likely that the books are out of stock. , especially at local retailers.

Together, they publish about half of the best-selling new print books in recent years. In 2019, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster had 49.3% hardcover bestsellers, according to an analysis by Publishers Weekly.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Justice Department sues Penguin Random House over Simon & Schuster case
Justice Department sues Penguin Random House over Simon & Schuster case
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