December 6, 2012
The Tempest in the General Trade Publishing Industry: Will the past be prologue?
Reading André Schiffrin's article in The Nation, How Mergermania Is Destroying Book Publishing, reminds me of some the same sort of promises made to buyers during the early day of mergermania in the legal book publishing industry. "Don't worry, editorial quality will remain excellent, pricing won't increase more than the usual, sales-buyers relationships will be as good if not better after the acquisition is completed." Yup, like that is what happened after competitiveness was eliminated from the equation.
If anyone wonders what will really happen in the general trade publishing industry after mergermania, all one has to do is examine the now well-established consequences of the consolidation that took place in the US legal publishing industry many years ago. Will the antitrust and competition scrutiny of general trade publishing mergers by US and European regulatory agency open the door for a review of the legal publishing industry? Or will the status quo in legal publishing pave the way for regulatory acceptance of mergermania in the the general trade publishing industry? [JH]