“In the face of Amazon’s dominance, book publishers have huddled together in search of safety.”

As Franklin Foer writes in The Atlantic, the proposed merger, announced last week, between book publisher Simon & Schuster (currently owned by ViacomCBS) and Penguin Random House, the biggest book publisher in the world (owned by private German media conglomerate Bertelsmann), would publish roughly a third of all books in the U.S. and reduce the “Big Five” publishers into the “Big Four” (Hachette, Macmillan, and HarperCollins comprising the other three). The less competitive landscape would certainly mean less leverage for book authors and their agents. But Foer argues that this proposed merger needs to be understood in context: Book publishers are looking for leverage, too, against the behemoth that sells 49% of all books in the U.S.: Amazon.

Content Lead for Business at Medium. Previously an editor of business books at Penguin Random House.

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