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Writers' News

PRH Purchase of S&S Draws Objections

publishersweekly.com – Tuesday December 1, 2020

Following the announcement that Penguin Random House parent company Bertelsmann won the bidding war for Simon & Schuster with a $2.2 billion offer, members of the book business and related organizations have begun to weigh in.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Authors Guild laid out its opposition to the proposed deal. The sale "would mean that the combined publishing house would account for approximately 50% of all trade books published, creating a huge imbalance in the U.S. publishing industry," the Guild said. (Penguin Random House's global CEO, Markus Dohle, told PW that he believes PRH's publishing market share is about 14.2% and S&S's 4.2%, including self-publishing; others have estimated the combined companies' market share would amount to roughly one third of the U.S. book market.)

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing: Scribbler Arts and Literary Magazine

firstwriter.com – Friday November 27, 2020

Magazine aimed at children and young adults, publishing original work by children aged 7-13. Submit up to 5 poems or up to 3,000 words of prose.

[See the full listing]

The Monster Publishing Merger Is About Amazon

theatlantic.com – Thursday November 26, 2020

Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster is not the gravest danger to the publishing business. The deal is transpiring in a larger context—and that context is Amazon.

In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower’s attorney general, William Rogers, read the paper with alarm. He learned that Random House intended to purchase the venerable publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Rogers began making calls to prod his antitrust division into blocking the sale. In those days, monopoly loomed as a central concern of government—and a competitive book business was widely seen as essential to preserving both intellectual life and democracy. After checking with his sources, Rogers discovered that the merger would yield a company that controlled a mere 1 percent of the book market, and he let the matter drop.

Not so long ago, Democratic and Republican administrations alike wouldn’t hesitate to block a merger like the one proposed today, which intends to fold the giant publisher Simon & Schuster into the even more gigantic Penguin Random House. How big would the combined company be? By one estimate, it might publish a third of all books in the U.S. This deal is so expansive that it’s hard to find an author to write about it who isn’t somehow implicated. Based on the odds, I suppose, it’s not terribly surprising to reveal that I’m published by Penguin Random House.

[Read the full article]

New Agent Listing: Will Lippincott

firstwriter.com – Thursday November 26, 2020

Agent based in Los Angeles. Interested in politics, journalistic narratives, history, health, technology, and memoir, with a special focus on multi-media storytelling.

[See the full listing]

Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster for $2.175 Billion

lunch.publishersmarketplace.com – Wednesday November 25, 2020

ViacomCBS announced Wednesday morning that it has a definitive agreement to sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.175 billion in cash, “from existing liquid funds.” The transaction is expected to close in 2021, with S&S ceo Jonathan Karp telling staff that will “likely” happen “in the second half of 2021 at the earliest.” It is subject to regulatory approvals — primarily in the US — and competing bidders such as HarperCollins parent News Corp. have already declared they believe “it will clearly be a serious antitrust issue.” Bertelsmann has already indicated it does not expect approval issues. (Internal PRH documents on “messaging” with industry partners about the deal acknowledges “rumors” they “will face antitrust challenges because of our size” and asserts “these are not grounded in fact and we assume may be perpetuated by competitors.”) The agreement includes a termination fee in the event the acquisition fails to win approval.

[Read the full article]

CBC launches Breakthrough Writers' Programme

thebookseller.com – Wednesday November 25, 2020

The Curtis Brown Creative Writing School is launching a Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, which features fully funded courses, mentoring and scholarships for underrepresented writers. 

The programme – which is intended to run for a minimum of three years – aims to seek out writers and deliver teaching and industry advice, through interaction with successful authors, agents and publishers. 

The programme of courses and mentoring is fully funded by Curtis Brown Group and its literary agents. Opportunities are targeted to address specific barriers to entry and will commence in February 2021.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Zoe Ross

firstwriter.com – Monday November 23, 2020

Works with a list of writers ranging from exciting new voices in literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, to award-winning food writers and academics. With a background in modern languages and psychoanalysis, she has a particular taste for stylish prose, sly humour and complex characterisation in fiction, and for challenging ideas and questions of identity across all genres.

[See the full listing]

2021 edition of Writers' Handbook now available to buy

firstwriter.com – Saturday November 21, 2020

The 2021 edition of firstwriter.com’s bestselling directory for writers is out now, and represents the biggest overhaul of the book to date!

The number of listings of literary agents, publishers, and magazines has increased dramatically – from just over 1,300 in the last edition to over 3,000 in the new one. In fact, there are so many new listings that we've increased the page size by 70% to accommodate them. The new page size makes the book even easier to use as a physical object: while thicker books with smaller pages refuse to stay open on the page you want, the 2021 edition of The Writers' Handbook is much happier to lay open at the page you leave it on.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Robert Kirby

firstwriter.com – Friday November 20, 2020

I have an interest in science, psychology, cultural history and environmental issues. I enjoy gripping adventure fiction, speculative fiction and emotionally driven commercial fiction. Submissions should be sent to my assistant by via email, with a synopsis and first three chapters. Please do not send submissions via the post.

[See the full listing]

'NYT' Says HC, PRH Top Contenders to Buy S&S

publishersweekly.com – Wednesday November 18, 2020

In New York Times story this morning, the paper reported that the country’s two largest trade book publishers are the leading candidates to buy the country’s third largest trade publisher. HarperCollins and Penguin Random House are favored, and were cited as such after private equity firms reportedly dropped out of the bidding.

Several international publishers had been thought to be looking at S&S as well, with France's Vivendi believed to still have interest.

[Read the full article]

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