As we mentioned yesterday, the marketplace of ideas around what the Random House/Penguin merger all means is heating up. The Financial Times' Robert Cookson looks at bigness vs. smallness and might vs. agility as competing strategies for success in an increasingly digital world. In smallness' corner is indie house Salt Publishing's Christopher Hamilton-Emery:
“I don’t think big necessarily means better." The rise of digital publishing, he argues, is likely to lead to an “explosion” of smaller, more focused publishers that can harness technology to establish relationships directly with consumers. —Brian Howard
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?"
Not wanting to be outdone by South Korea and others, which mandated the use of digital textbooks by 2015, earlier this year the FCC and the Department of Ed released the Digital Textbook Playbook to help accelerate digital textbook adoption among American schools. According to a recent report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), it’s not a matter of if this transition will happen, but when.
Since its launch in 2009, Inkling has been on a mission to reinvent publishing for the mobile, digital era.
The Oct. 29 merger of book behemoths Random House and Penguin not only creates the world’s largest publisher, home to authors as diverse as Fifty Shades of Grey’s E L James and mystery writer Patricia Cornwell, it also will present a formidable challenge to the growing power of such digital distributors as Amazon and Apple. And some already are worrying that the consolidation will decrease opportunities for authors and drive down advances.
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.
Champagne corks are not popping in the book world at news of the Penguin-Random House merger. There is no celebrating among competitors or authors, and the atmosphere at Penguin Towers and Random HQ is apparently one of deep gloom. Only the Mergers & Acquisitions lawyers will be happy.
Such mergers of titans are always accompanied by job losses so it’s hardly surprising that employees at Penguin and Random House are worried.
They’re going to the chapel and they’re gonna get married: Book publishers Penguin and Random House will become one after their parents company complete an upcoming merger. If the merging of companies in other industries is any indication, this new union could produce higher book prices as the two cease competing, as well as a possible dearth in the selection of titles.
British media conglomerate Pearson (PSO) on Thursday confirmed press reports that the company is in talks to combine its consumer publishing business, Penguin, with Bertelsmann’s Random House.
“The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction,” read a note posted on Pearson’s website.
Despite the uncertainly of what the final deal might look like, the news that the Big Six of publishing could soon shrink to the Big Five sent the book industry into a state of frenzied self-examination.
Pearson, the British media conglomerate, said Thursday that it was in talks to combine its Penguin publishing house with Random House, owned by Bertelsmann of Germany.
The deal, if completed, would bring together two of the biggest book publishers in the world, uniting Penguin and its iconic orange logo with the owner of Crown Publishing and Knopf Doubleday. The combination would create a division with greater scale that could compete in a rapidly evolving e-book market.
Textbook publisher Pearson set off an unfortunate chain of events with a takedown notice issued aimed at a copy of Beck's Hoplessness Scale posted by a teacher on one of Edublogs' websites (You may recall Pearson from such other related copyright nonsense as The $180 Art Book With No Pictures and No Free Textbooks Ever!). The end result? Nearly 1.5 million teacher and student blogs taken offline by Edublogs' host, ServerBeach. James Farmer at wpmu.org fills in the details.