The news that Penguin and Random House are considering a merger will scare some in the publishing industry - yet it could just save their skins.
A company that controls a quarter of the book market will also be able to drive down advances – not good news for authors. And the more a company grows the more ravenous it becomes for even greater profits. Yet the book market is fairly static: readers don't tend to go dramatically up or down. The way to grow is to find cheap bestsellers: hence the avalanche of books by celebrities in recent years.
Yet the many excellent editors who work at both companies can still provide one thing the moneymen know they cannot do without: cultural capital. Go into the lobby of any publisher and you will see posters of its most serious, prize-winning books, not necessarily its most profitable ones. Executive vanity can be an important asset in any cultural organisation and should still be exploited by canny publishers.
Full story at The Telegraph