No one buys books

The Trial

I want to bring to your attention this book review by Elle Griffin, The Trial: The DOJ’s Suit to Block Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Simon & Schuster by Publishers Lunch.
There are some alarming numbers.
96% of books sell less than 1,000 copies.
On the one hand, it reflects what I call “commercialization”. On the other hand, it shows the growing lack of interest in reading and learning of the human species.

“In 2022, Penguin Random House wanted to buy Simon & Schuster. The two publishing houses made up 37 percent and 11 percent of the market share, according to the filing, and combined they would have condensed the Big Five publishing houses into the Big Four. But the government intervened and brought an antitrust case against Penguin to determine whether that would create a monopoly.
The judge ultimately ruled that the merger would create a monopoly and blocked the $2.2 billion purchase. But during the trial, the head of every major publishing house and literary agency got up on the stand to speak about the publishing industry and give numbers, giving us an eye-opening account of the industry from the inside. All of the transcripts from the trial were compiled into a book called The Trial. It took me a year to read, but I’ve finally summarized my findings and pulled out all the compelling highlights.”

Elle Griffin

Please read the complete review HERE

The book:
The Trial: The DOJ’s Suit to Block Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Simon & Schuster

In the book publishing tradition of preserving the full record of significant events and documents, THE TRIAL combines the significant day-by-day antitrust trial coverage and insider analysis from Publishers Lunch with an edited version of the full public testimony and other key pre- and post-trial documents and filings. Plus, for the first time, an appendix culls over 100 pages of the most significant, and insightful, internal documents and emails entered into evidence. At nearly 700,000 words, this massive compilation is certainly the most comprehensive discussion of publishing you will ever encounter, instructive and essential for everyone interested in the field.

For three astonishing weeks in August, dozens of CEOs, literary agents, publishers and authors testified in court on how publishing and dealmaking works. Regardless of the final result of the antitrust case, the full account of what was said and revealed will stand as a singular window into the practices and personalities of trade publishing, including:

– In dealmaking, learn about the intricacies of auction practices-round robins; best bids; better-best-and the agents who think their competitive submissions are not auctions at all. Plus there’s the softness of option books, the complexities of house bids (and when the rules are or are not followed), and even The Workaround, designed to keep one house bidding against itself even when everyone else has dropped out.

– In marketing, we hear about the thinness of early promises and plans, are introduced to the “glam budget,” find out that the largest trade publisher spends only 2 percent of revenues on marketing, and more.

– New bidding pledges are floated, code names revealed (from Project Typeface to Silk), a very famous couple pursued an imprint deal, and new companies such as Zando, Spiegel & Grau and Astra are accorded much attention.

– Baseball references abound, as do jokes-and earnest debates-about who pays for lunch and what that means about the balance of power in publishing.

– Profit & Loss statements are explained-or dubbed “really fake”-as is the primary role of comps in setting the bar, and big-money deals and auctions are discussed at great length.

And throughout it all, the passion of publishing people and the unpredictability of the publishing business shines through.

Product Details
Price $113.85
Publisher Publishers Lunch
Publish Date November 21, 2022
Pages 1194
Dimensions 8.5 X 11.0 X 2.44 inches | 6.63 pounds
Language English
Type Hardcover
EAN/UPC 9781948586559
BISAC Categories: Mergers & Acquisitions. Publishers & Publishing Industry, Antitrust

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