Will The Marriage Of Penguin & Random House Send Book Prices Soaring?

They’re going to the chapel and they’re gonna get married: Book publishers Penguin and Random House will become one after their parents company complete an upcoming merger. If the merging of companies in other industries is any indication, this new union could produce higher book prices as the two cease competing, as well as a possible dearth in the selection of titles.

Penguin’s British parent, Pearson is joining corporate forces with German company Bertelsmann, setting the stage for their publishing offspring to unite as one large entity. Pearson sees this elimination of competition as the only way to survive in the industry, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“The consumer publishing industry is going through a period of tumultuous change, propelled by digital technologies and the giant companies that dominate them,” said Pearson Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino.

“The book publishing industry today is remarkable for being composed of a few large, and a lot of relatively small companies, and there probably isn’t room for them all,” she said. “They’re going to have to get together.”

In fields like telecommunications, airlines and banks, smushing companies together rarely leads to a dip in prices or an impetus to work harder to please. After all, if they only have a few options, the odds are even if you provide a less than stellar product, they’ll end up with you anyway. Otherwise known as slim pickins.

Book of love: Penguin and Random House to tie the knot [Los Angeles Times]