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Authors groups ask DoJ to halt PRH acquisition of S&S

In the US, the Authors Guild, Open Markets Institute and five other writers’ groups have sent a letter to the Department of Justice, asking the government to block Penguin Random House’s (PRH) pending acquisition of Simon & Schuster (S&S), reports Publishers Weekly.

In the letters, the organisations framed the proposed acquisition as part of ongoing consolidation within the entire publishing industry. ‘The time has also come to recognize that simply blocking takeovers is no longer sufficient,’ the letter states. ‘The Department of Justice must begin today to proactively restructure the entire US market for books in ways that also deal with the danger posed by Amazon.’

The letter writers said that, while they agree that Amazon’s monopoly power ‘poses a variety of threats to authors, publishers, independent booksellers, and readers, and American democracy itself,’ the organisations ‘absolutely disagree’ that the answer is to let PRH buy S&S. The organisations contend that the combination of PRH and S&S will diminish the competition for authors’ manuscripts and drive down author advances.

Since the acquisition of S&S was announced, PRH has argued that even with the addition of S&S, its market share would still be below the level that would trigger an antitrust investigation. PRH also maintains that S&S editors will be free to compete for manuscripts along with editors at PRH.

The letter is signed by representatives from the Romance Writers of America, the National Writers Union, Sisters in Crime, Western Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association.

Pending approval by regulators, PRH’s acquisition of S&S is expected to be completed some time this year.


Category: International news