As traditional publishing companies scramble to keep up with the rapidly changing publishing trends, some corporations are getting support from unlikely corners–their competitors. According to All Things Considered, a National Public Radio Talk Show, Random House and Penguin have decided still bigger is yet better with the decision to merge into one entity: Penguin Random House.
The culprit behind such a drastic move? EBooks. “The number one thing consolidation does for these large media companies,” says James McQuivey of Forrester Research, “is it allows them to share the burden of continuing to provide the physical products, in this case printed books, which are still a very important part of the business, but they are a very expensive part of the business and they’re not generating the growth that eBooks are.”
Literary agents, who have historically played one publishing company off of another to get sweeter deals, are also being impacted by this latest merger. “When there are fewer publishers to play against each other,” McQuivey says, “it just mathematically means you have fewer options.” With this trend, the options for authors to pitch their books get narrower as well.
What the article doesn’t consider, however, is the up-and-coming hybrid presses, like Fuze, that have emerged in the wake of the digital revolution. The story of how these presses have burst onto the scene and will impact the world of publishing–the literary agents, the authors– has yet to be written.