The BIG FIVE
Back in January 2011, when it seemed the world still had come out of its first spin from the transition to the digital world of books and media, I wrote a bit about the BIG SIX—the six largest (and at that time and for many years past) the most lucrative publishing houses in the world.
Ten years ago, if you were writing and you had “made” it, it was very likely that you had been published by one of the imprints belonging to one of the legendary BIG SIX.
Fast Forward to the brink of 2013 and it appears the publishing world has not stopped spinning after all. According to an article by Eric Pfanner in today’s New York Times, two of the Big Six will merge:
“Bertelsmann, the owner of Random House, and Pearson, which owns Penguin, said Monday that they had reached an agreement to combine the two houses to create the largest consumer book publisher in the world. Analysts said the deal between Bertelsmann, of Germany, and Pearson, of Britain, would give the combined companies greater scale to deal with the challenges arising from the growth of electronic books and the power of Internet retailers.
Together, Penguin Random House would have a global market share of more than 25 percent, and a book list that includes contemporary best sellers like Random House’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Penguin’s back list of classics from authors including George Orwell.”
Here is a link to a letter to their agents: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012/random-house-letter-to-agents-explaining-merger/
It’s an interesting time in publishing!