The Book Giants are merging to face off against such impossibly daunting market stompers as Amazon: Pearson’s Penguin Book division and German Media company Bertelsmann’s Random House are merging to become the world’s largest publisher of consumer books, holding one quarter of the market, according to the associated press.
This brings such books under the same umbrella who might in fact aesthetically negate each other, such as Penguin’s backlist of such works as George Orwell’s 1984 and Random’s recent riff raff such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Together, the merger will control 26 percent of the global market, with their closest competition being French Publisher Lagardere.
Bertelsmann will maintain exclusive control over their German market, Penguin over their Educational brand. The new group will be known as Penguin Random House, and 53 percent of it will be owned by Bertelsmann.
The official such and such about why they merged is explained by Bertelsmann’s Dohl, that it will “Create a publishing home that gives employees, authors, agents, and booksellers access to unprecedented resources.”
This was sung to the same tune as Marjorie Scardino of Pearson who said, “Together, the two publishers will be able to share a large part of their costs, to invest more for their author and reader consistencies and to be more adventurous in trying new models in this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers.”
The words sound bubbly, but the last clause gives a hint why the merger really accorded. As Jonathan Jackson, head of equities at Kellick & Co said, “We believe the tie-up is a sensible one, although it is clearly a defensive responses to the long-term pressures affecting the industry, including dramatic growing in digital retail channels, self-publishing and digital reading.”
With juggernauts like Amazon to go up against, and the booming digital market, publishing companies are more likely to make extreme gestures and huge mergers.