US Department of Justice seeks to block publication of “behemoth” book

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There are currently five major publishing houses in the United States, and one of them, Penguin Random House, wants to buy Simon & Schuster, one of its strongest competitors, for $ 2.75 billion. . But that’s a problem, says US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. He said the merger would create a “publishing behemoth,” in a declaration released Tuesday by the US Department of Justice.

“Books have shaped American public life throughout our country’s history, and authors are the lifeblood of book publishing in America. But only five publishers control the American publishing industry.” , indicates the press release. “If the world’s largest book publisher is allowed to acquire one of its biggest rivals, it will have unprecedented control over this important industry. American authors and consumers will pay the price for this anti-competitive merger – less advance payments for authors and ultimately fewer variety books for consumers.

Penguin Random House has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The DOJ statement also pointed out that the publishing industry is already highly concentrated. The “Big Five” give authors the best chance of becoming bestsellers. He goes on to say:

The lawsuit alleges that the acquisition of Simon & Schuster for $ 2.175 billion would give Penguin Random House control of nearly half of the market for acquiring the publishing rights of top-selling books, leaving hundreds of ‘individual authors with fewer options and less influence. According to its own documents described in the complaint, Penguin Random House views the US publishing market as an’ oligopoly ‘and its acquisition of Simon & Schuster aims to’ consolidate Its position as the dominant publisher in the United States … Simply put, if Penguin Random House acquires Simon & Schuster, the two publishers will stop competing. As a result, authors will be paid less for their work. are paid less write less, which means that the quantity and variety of books is also decreasing. “

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