Quill and Quire

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Authors Guild asks for “close scrutiny” of Penguin Random House merger

Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild in the U.S., has responded to the Penguin Random House merger, asking for “close scrutiny from anti-trust officials at the Justice Department or the FTC.”

In an open letter on the organization’s website, he writes:

Survival of the largest appears to be the message here … Penguin Random House, our first mega-publisher, would have additional negotiating leverage with the bookselling giants, but that leverage would come at a high cost for the literary market and therefore for readers. There are already far too few publishers willing to invest in nonfiction authors, who may require years to research and write histories, biographies, and other works, and in novelists, who may need the help of a substantial publisher to effectively market their books to readers.

The Authors Guild statement arrives on the same day as the announcement that Random House owner Bertelsmann will soon own 100 per cent of Random House Mondadori, its Spain and Latin America trade book publisher, pending approval of Spanish anti-trust authorities.

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