As an aspiring editor, I almost fell of my chair when I heard Penguin and Random House were merging. Two of the major book publishers in the United States, their merger brought home once more how difficult it would be to find permanent employment in book publishing.
At the same time, as a rather optimistic individual, I would still like to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. After reading a number of gloom and doom articles, I finally came across one which took the time to evaluate what “good” things might come out of the Penguin Random House merger. Once again, excellent articles from The Guardian.
In “Penguin Merger Minuses Could Be Pluses for Indies,” the editorial director of the independent publisher Quartet books Gavin James Bower evaluates the merger as another sign that major book publishers are “battening down the hatches” rather than “exploiting high-growth emerging markets.”
Reticence of major book publishers to take risks, however, has opened new opportunities for independent book publishers. As I have seen from my own experience working for an independent publisher and as Bower notes in his article, profits and sales are up at independent book publishers. Frantic fears that the end of book publishing is near are misplaced.
Like Bower, I’m hopeful that independent book publishers will be able to re-invent publishing and continue to make a profit as the publishing industry weathers these tough economic times. Once the economy has recovered, major book publishers will likely follow suit.
What we are seeing now is, perhaps, the quiet rumblings of a book publishing renaissance.
Check out James Bower’s great article on The Guardian’s book blog at: