There's a great piece by the Scholarly Kitchen's Joseph Esposito this week that asks, in response to the latest corporate megamerger between Penguin and Random house, "Why did publishers get so big?" His breakdown of the larger forces that led to larger publishers is exquisite. —Brian Howard
"For many people the rationale for bigness is all-too-evident: greed. But while greed can be a strong motivator, it is not a strategy. To put this another way, why does greed always reach for bigness? What is it about bigness that makes it economically irresistible?"
Through bestselling books like I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, many of you will be familiar with the self-proclaimed a**hole Tucker Max. Less well known is Max’s commitment to blowing up the traditional publishing industry and replacing it with a business model in which authors get a significantly bigger piece of the pie.
Amazon is poised for a European e-book pricing victory over Apple. European Union regulators are expected to accept a settlement proposed by Apple and several e-book publishers in response to an alleged price-fixing scheme, even as Apple continues to fight US regulators. Apple and publishers proposed the settlement to the EU in August, which would allow e-book retailers to charge whatever discounts they please for two years. This would allow Amazon to continue selling books at a discount via the old "wholesale model."
Bertelsmann, the corporate parent of Random House, has purchased a 100 percent stake Random House Mondadori. Random House created the publishing house for Spain and Latin America in 2001, splitting the shares 50/50 with the Spanish publisher.
Spanish antitrust authorities still need to approve the acquisition, and the name will be changed “in the near future.”
Amazon prides itself on unraveling the established order. This fall, signs of Amazon-inspired disruption are everywhere.There is the slow-motion crackup of electronics showroom Best Buy. There is Amazon’s rumored entry into the wine business, which is already agitating competitors. And there is the merger of Random House and Penguin, an effort to create a mega-publisher sufficiently hefty to negotiate with the retailer on equal terms. Amazon inspires anxiety just about everywhere, but its publishing arm is getting pushback from all sorts of booksellers.
The news that Penguin and Random House will merge into one large frankenpublisher sent shockwaves through the book industry as the frankenstorm lashed the northeast. The move is motivated by bad news—declining sales and troubled chains—and has inspired fears that there will be more bad news to come for the publishing industry.
But could there be a glimmer of hope in all of this pessimism? Gavin James Bower, editorial director at UK independent publisher Quartet Books, offered a positive spin on , speculating that the merger might offer opportunities for indie publishers.
Markus Dohle, Chief Executive of Random House, must have had a long hard think about what a booklover could possibly treasure more than a Kindle.
The answer is, of course, a Penguin. Everyone loves Penguin. Their paperback covers have become such a design cult that people flock to buy not just their books, but also bags, mugs, postcards, and even deckchairs, trussed up in Penguin livery. If Random House wants to stand up to the mighty Amazon, then this strong brand is a boost to their arsenal.
Are publishers confronting digital change, or is digital change confronting publishers? So wondered Chris Lederer, a director at AlixPartners and the moderator of "Organizations Confronting Digital Change," one in a series of educational webinars at September's free Publishing Business Virtual Conference & Expo, a production of Book Business and its sister publication Publishing Executive. Lederer, along with Ania Wieckowski, Managing Editor of Harvard Business Review Press, and Holly Gilly, VP, Product Development at Human Kinetics, provided deep knowledge and great takeaways for publishers who are grappling with digital change:
Don't cry for Nicholas Sparks. The author of 16 New York Times best-sellers, including such tear-jerkers-turned-movie hits as The Notebook and Dear John, is expanding into TV.
Sparks, 46, has put shows into development at three cable networks through Nicholas Sparks Productions, the shingle he started in April with his longtime literary agent Theresa Park. (UTA’s Elise Henderson joined in July as head of TV.)
Sparks and Park will act as executive producers on all three projects. UTA and attorney Scott Schwimer represent Sparks and his Nicholas Sparks Productions shingle.
Two of the world's biggest publishing houses are to link up in a deal that will bring the writings of classics like George Orwell's "1984" and this year's literary phenomenon "Fifty Shades of Grey" under one umbrella.
Confirmation that Pearson will merge its Penguin Books division with Random House, which is owned by German media company Bertelsmann, will create the world's largest publisher of consumer books, with around a quarter of the market.