Stephen King called on to testify against Penguin Random House

Two of the big five publishing houses in the world, are defending their rights to merge, in what the US department of justice is calling a monopoly takeover. If this doesn’t become grounds for a mini-series, I dont know what would. 

Lodged late last year, the wheels are in motion for the civil suit between Americas Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Penguin Random House owner, Carl-Bertelsmann-Strasse who owns Penguins parent company German media group Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA, to have its day in court. 

Penguin which is already the largest publishing house in the world, and Simon & Schuster which is currently placed fourth in the U.S, are known famously as being a part of the big 5. In the Justice Department’s original complaint, it argued that the proposed merger would eliminate competition and would give Penguin Random House an unprecedented monopoly in the publishing industry. Citing it would lead to significantly decreased competition within the publishing industry and would lower advances for authors, and provide fewer books for consumers.

simon and schuster stephen king
Credit: NYT

Penguin Random House has defended its rights to purchase the 4th largest publishing house in the U.S saying the transaction is “pro-consumer, pro-author, and pro-book seller.” Countering that the deal would result in higher incomes for authors and more choices for consumers. I guess that’s what you would say if you were going for a monopoly.

Stephen King, who is currently published with Simon and Schuster, has been called on to testify in the upcoming court hearing between the US Department of Justice and Penguin Random House’s owner Bertelsmann this August. Our favourite horror author will talk about his experiences as a popular author in selling anticipated top-selling books, and what effects he believes the proposed deal will have on the markets for those books.  

Other Big 5 publishing CEO’s testimonies included in the upcoming trial are Hachette Book Group US c.e.o. Michael Pietsch, S&S president and c.e.o. Jonathan Karp, PRH chairman and c.e.o. Markus Dohle and Macmillan c.e.o. Don Weisberg. 

US District Judge Florence Pan is residing over US v.  Bertelsmann SE, 21-cv-02886, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is set to begin on August the 1st and is expected to last for three weeks.