In this article from the New York Times, Adam Davidson discusses the implications of the Random House and Penguin merger. He draws on the lessons drawn from a similar industry consolidation that occurred at the turn of the 20th century as outlined in the book “The Great Merger Movement in American Business 1895-1904,” by Yale economist and historian Naomi Lamoreaux.
Mr. Davidson argues that this tendency to merge could eventually result in an environment where there are “only one or two publishers and that they might be folded into some larger infotainment company like Time Warner Penguin or maybe Random Viacom. There would still be books — just not large book companies.
However this isn’t as big a threat as it might seem. Mr. Davidson notes that “it’s difficult to imagine how, in the digital world, publishers could ever monopolize the sale of written material. Even if there were only one house left, it would compete with every blogger and self-published e-book author. In short we could very well find ourselves in a world of “lots of small businesses and a few massive ones that handle big-ticket items.”
Davidson goes on to argue that the real concern is companies like Amazon amassing digital patents and using them to “sue upstarts out of existence.”
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.