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For Agents, It’s Business As Usual With Penguin and Random House

31 October 2012

From Publishers Weekly:

With news that Random House and Penguin are merging, agents said that, despite what the move will mean for the industry, business moves ahead as usual. Last week, after the Financial Times broke word that the merger was a possibility, a number of agents told PW that having fewer big houses would be a negative, namely because less competition would result in smaller advances.

. . . .

“Frankly, there are hirings and firings constantly in this business, regardless of these massive forecasted changes,” explained one agent. Although this agent noted that the shifts-to-come at both Random House and Penguin might make her think about taking certain projects elsewhere, publishers are, she said, constantly morphing and cutting back. “In situations where we have other players vying for a project, we will be taking this change into account when making decisions.” Noting that an agent couldn’t take two of the biggest houses off their list when selling projects, this agent added that her assumption is the merger will “more deeply impact Penguin than Random House… so I will probably make decisions based on that hunch.”

Other agents noted that the goal is often to sell a project to an editor, and not a publisher. “Agents always prefer more competition to less. But in this rough market, I and my colleagues, I believe, have been submitting more narrowly anyway, so for us it’s really editor by editor,” explained another agent.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Agents, Big Publishing

2 Comments to “For Agents, It’s Business As Usual With Penguin and Random House”

  1. Thank you, PG. The headline made me laugh.

    EDIT: Oh, and the content of the article… More lower advances. Funny how:

    1. A merger seems to give the companies more control over the market, not a new and better way to perform the role of bookmaker, and

    2. The agents are so focused on the short-term money. What happened to nurturing an author over the long term and career building?

  2. You were right, PG, when you said that agents are nervous about this.

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