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Industry News: Penguin Random House Merger May Set Off Others, Publishing Weathers Sandy

November 3, 2012

Penguin Random House Merger May Set Off Others

This week’s announcement that Penguin and Random House are merging could set off additional mergers, as the Big Six consolidates to fend off Amazon, Apple, and Google. The premise is bolstered by News Corporation’s attempt to add Penguin before the merger with Random House. In addition, some of the bigger houses may absorb some of the smaller houses in their attempts to stay competitive. Getting approval from government regulators may have been one of the incentives to make the deal. As the number of big houses continues to shrink, further mergers may be subject to more regulatory scrutiny.

What this means to you: As the article points out, the possibilities for high-stakes auctions dwindles as the number of participants shrinks. For authors, more big players are advantageous. However, Amazon is increasingly a player, and for some books and authors, self-publishing may be a better option.

Big and Smaller Houses Struggle in the Aftermath of Sandy

Along with the rest of the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic coast, the New York City publishing industry was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy this week. Almost all of the big publishers were closed for part of the week, and several had warehouses affected by the storm. It wasn’t just the big guys who were hit, but smaller publishers were affected, as well. Several smaller publishers were affected, in particular, houses that were located in lower Manhattan. If you have business with one of these houses, you’ve probably heard from them by now. For the bigger houses, life should return to normal relatively quickly. The future of the Indies, like any other smaller business, will be dictated by a number of issues, including insurance and business continuity plans.

How this affects you: If your publisher or agency is in lower Manhattan or on the New Jersey or Connecticut coast, you probably know how it affects you. As a book purchases, you probably won’t notice the difference. If you buy e-books, you shouldn’t know the difference.

iPad Mini Released, But Not to Long Lines

Long lines outside the Apple store have become ubiquitous enough that opposing phone manufacturers are making fun of them. The lines didn’t occur when Apple released its iPad Mini this week. The Mini is supposed to compete with Amazon’s Kindle line, as well as mini-tablets by Google and Barnes and Noble’s Nook product line. The iPad Mini is more expensive than its competitors, thought. It starts at $329, which is toward the upper end of the price range for the other mini-tablets. And now that Apple is selling mini iPads, this fake commercial is funny again (still).

How this affects you: One of the reasons Barnes and Noble didn’t become Borders was because of the Nook. Apple’s move into the mini tablet market adds challenges to the Nook line and makes B&N’s challenge larger.

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