Two of the world’s Big Five publishing houses are defending their rights to merge, in what the US Department of Justice calls a monopoly takeover. If that doesn’t become ground for a miniseries, I don’t know what will.
Filed late last year, the wheels are in motion for the civil lawsuit between the Americas Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and Penguin Random House owner Carl-Bertelsmann-Strasse, owner of the parent company of Penguins, the German media group Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA, has its day in court.
Penguin, which is already the largest publishing house in the world, and Simon & Schuster, which currently ranks fourth in the United States, are known to be part of the big 5. In the Justice Department’s original complaint, it argued that the proposed merger would eliminate competition and would give Penguin Random House an unprecedented monopoly in the publishing industry. VSits adoption would lead to a significant decrease in competition within the publishing industry, reduce advances for authors, and provide fewer books to consumers.
Penguin Random House has defended its rights to buy the 4th largest publishing house in the United States, saying the deal is “pro-consumer, pro-author and pro-bookseller”. Countering this, the deal would mean higher incomes for authors and more choice for consumers. I guess that’s what you would say if you went for a monopoly.
Stephen King, who is currently published with Simon and Schuster, was called to testify at the upcoming hearing between the US Department of Justice and Penguin Random House owner Bertelsmann in August. Our favorite horror author will talk about his experiences as a popular author selling best-selling books and the effects he thinks the proposed deal will have on the markets for those books.
Other Big 5 Publishing CEO testimony included in the upcoming lawsuit are Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group US, Jonathan Karp, Chairman and CEO of S&S, Markus Dohle, Chairman and CEO of PRH, and Don Weisberg, CEO of Macmillan.
U.S. District Judge Florence Pan resides over U.S. v. Bertelsmann SE, 21-cv-02886, US District Court for the District of Columbia, is scheduled to begin August 1 and is expected to last three weeks.