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Perhaps a horrific merger for authors

Stephen King

Stephen King, the king of horror, is expected to testify as the U.S. Justice Department intends to ask a federal judge on Monday to block a $2.2 billion merger of two of the “Big Five” book publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, according to Reuters.

The feds are focusing on advances paid to the most successful authors, especially those given $250,000 or more.

“The evidence will show that the proposed merger would likely result in authors of anticipated top-selling books receiving smaller advances, meaning authors who labor for years over their manuscripts will be paid less for their efforts,” the Justice Department said in a pretrial brief.

The department is also challenging the legality of the merger, which was announced in 2020 when Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the United States, said it planned to buy rival Simon & Schuster in November 2020. The feds filed their suit in 2021.