In an effort to survive a rapidly transforming industry, NY-based publishers are using both mergers and lawsuits to compete with Amazon and Apple. According to Highbrow Magazine, at least two of the Big Seven publishers are in merger talks. News Corp., which owns HarperCollins is considering a merger with Simon & Schuster. Penguin (which had been in talks with NewsCorp) and Random House recently announced a merger.
Publishers also are suing both Amazon and Apple, alleging they violated the Sherman Act’s antitrust regulations. The DOJ complaint claims the two companies “conspired to raise retail e-book price and to otherwise limit completion in the sale of e-books.” Three publishers have settled out of court, but Apple, MacMillan and Penguin are continuing. The case will head to court on June 2013. Barnes & Noble said that the case might ultimately lead to higher e-book and hardcover prices and less choices for the consumer.
Author Scott Turow commented on his blog that “The irony bites hard: Our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of real competition.”