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Horror writer Stephen King testifies towards $2bn Penguin merger

The proposed deal might see the most important e-book writer, Penguin, take over Simon & Schuster, which is the fourth largest.

By Bloomberg

Best-selling horror writer Stephen King testified towards Penguin Random House’s proposed $2.18 billion acquisition of Simon & Schuster, saying it will weaken competitors within the publishing trade.

The “Carrie” and “It” writer took the stand Tuesday as a authorities witness within the Justice Department’s antitrust go well with in search of to dam the deal. He stated consolidation within the publishing trade over the course of his profession has led to decrease pay for authors.

“It becomes tougher and tougher for writers to find enough money to live on,” King testified in federal court docket in Washington.

If accomplished, the deal would see Penguin, the most important e-book writer and a unit of Bertelsmann SE, take over Simon & Schuster, the fourth largest. The authorities argues the mixture will result in decrease advances for authors and fewer selections for shoppers.

Squeezed Independents

King’s personal books are largely printed by Simon & Schuster’s Scribner imprint. He stated he stayed with them as a result of they’d printed authors he idolized and have been “muscular” of their dealings with e-book sellers.

But a lot of King’s testimony targeted on difficulties he perceived for much less well-known authors. He stated the 5 largest publishers have largely squeezed out impartial retailers, making it tougher for fledgling authors to make it into print.

“That is the minor leagues for writers,” King stated of impartial publishing homes, although he added that new alternatives have been cropping up at tv streaming companies. “The streaming networks have been a gold rush for writers,” King stated.

‘No, after you’

The corporations contend inside competitors will proceed between the Simon & Schuster and Penguin imprints after the merger. King mocked that declare on the stand.

“You might as well say you are going to have a husband and wife bidding against each other for the same house,” he stated. “It will be very gentlemanly. It will be, ‘After you. No, after you.’”

US District Judge Florence Pan is listening to the case and not using a jury. The trial, which is predicted to final three weeks, comes because the Biden administration has taken a harder stance towards a development of consolidation inside industries.

The case is US v. Bertelsmann SE, 21-cv-02886, U.S. District Court for District of Columbia.

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