By now we all know that on Monday, July 1 of this year, publishing powerhouses Penguin and Random House merged officially forming a mega, well, powerhouse.
Though it’s been reported that change will occur “slowly” it leaves us all to wonder what this means for an already rapidly changing industry with an uncertain future. Will this merger, and other strategic moves like it, aid in the battle against Amazon.com? A line from the article reads as follows:
“Together, Penguin and Random House will make up the biggest and most dominant publisher in the business, one that has unmatched leverage against Amazon.com and the potential to inspire other mergers in the industry.”
I am 100% for leveling the playing field between traditional publishers and Amazon.com. I am also naive enough to think that someday they could just team up, have tea parties, and make publishing better than ever. In the meantime though, is “unmatched leverage” really a good thing? Maybe it is in this case, seeing as desperate times call for desperate measures.
In good form, Markus Dohle, the CEO of the newly-formed PRH, rallies his troops: “Moving ahead, let’s continue to focus on doing what we love and do so well: publishing great books with creativity and excellence.” (source)
The behemoth publishing house brings to mind the days when small, locally-owned bookstores were being run out of town by super-stores such as Barnes & Noble. It is now painfully obvious that the Barnes & Nobles are the last chance to save the brick-and-mortar bookstore business model. While B&N doesn’t seem to be succeeding, it is possible that PRH could prove to be a champion for traditional publishers and authors. Of course, this is just speculation.
While some are picketing the resulting name of the merger, I am just wondering if I will ever find myself in that as-of-yet-undefined publishing role in a world where those jobs and opportunities are diminishing and the corner bookstore with the fat, leather armchairs and familiar faces is a thing of the past.
Who knows… here’s a random penguin: