There’s little surprise that industry watchers declare the Penguin Random House-Simon and Schuster publishing merger means less competition for the work of traditional authors. The merger may not ultimately achieve the desired goals.
Consolidation on this scale will leave many authors with far less less negotiating power with the remaining corporate publishing houses. Many will be tempted to go to smaller indie presses or the self-publishing route. This may further undermine the business model of the four publishing giants that remain. They are likely to bet big bucks on a smaller number of ‘star’ names.
As with previous big publishing corporate mergers, there’s also going to be a shedding of imprints, staff, and contracted authors. Large numbers of established and new authors going the indie route. Meanwhile a lot of experienced executives and editors will hit the freelance market or startup on their own.
With e-books creating a huge new online market, this could undermine the traditional publishers even further. Barriers to entry to the e-book market are all but eliminated. This doesn’t bode well for traditional bookshops moving paper, however.
The question remains whether the four publishing giants can transform their outdated business model.