Readersforum's Blog

November 22, 2012

There Can Be Only One!: Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster To Merge?

By Dean Fetzer

Talk about the silly season. In yesterday’s news, it was announced News Corp. International — who already owns Harper Collins — has expressed interest in buying publishing house Simon & Schuster, only a few weeks after they attempted to buy Penguin prior to its merger with Random House.

The fact that the Wall Street Journal (again, owned by News Corp.) reported the story is an irony that’s not lost on me. Also, News Corp. is in the process of breaking its business in half, at the moment, creating an entertainment company for its assets like Fox News, 20th Century Fox film studio, Harper Collins and Dow Jones. And the merger with Simon & Schuster could bring them quite a good chunk of the market:


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August 9, 2011

S&S in town, cult babycare book in tow

Delhi: The cult babycare book, `Dr Spock Baby and Childcare`, is being Indianised as international publishing house Simon & Schuster opens its Asian operations with a base here in mid-August.

“A team of editors is presently working to Indianise the S&S cult babycare primer `Dr Spock Baby and Childcare` to make it more relevant to Indian women,” Rahul Srivastava, the director of the company`s sales and marketing who will head the operations, told reporters in an interview.

The book was published in 1946 and is one of the biggest bestsellers of all time.

The publishing house, rated among the top four in the world with Random House, Penguin and Harper Collins, will offer Indian readers “rupee-priced books specially selected and formatted to appeal to Indian readers”, the official said.

“Publishing in India is the fastest growing market in the English language-speaking world,” Srivastava said.

“Reading habits are changing and Indian readers want to read more books by Indian authors or books relevant to them, as the bestseller lists indicate. This is a sign of a maturing market,” he added.

Srivastava said: “Simon & Schuster wanted to harness this strength of the country`s publishing industry, the growing retail bookstore presence and the deep-seated culture that prizes books and literacy.”

The publishing house is known for its children`s books, fiction, non-fiction, self-help and audio titles. It publishes 2,000 books annually under 35 imprints.

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July 16, 2011

Jewels in Rupert’s tarnished crown

By Boyd Tonkin

Thoroughbred in the stable: Victoria Barnsley, Harper Collins

How much – if at all – should we care that Rupert Murdoch’s company controls the fourth largest book publisher in Britain, and has done for 21 years? The road that led a high-minded Glasgow Bible printer founded by William Collins in 1819 to integration into Murdoch’s News Corporation was a winding and eventful one. Collins finally joined the family in 1990, when News Corp merged the newly purchased UK firm with American outfit Harper & Row.

HarperCollins later acquired the illustrious independent imprint Fourth Estate, in 2000. Bucking the industry norm, the taken-over party, Fourth Estate’s founder Victoria Barnsley, then took charge of the entire business. A decade later, she still serves – with distinction – in that role.

According to the latest figures, HarperCollins has a market share of books in Britain of around 7.5 per cent – nothing like Murdoch’s hold on the press or subscription TV. Three bigger beasts easily outpace it: French-controlled Hachette UK, the German-owned Random House, and the native Penguin (which also has family ties to newspapers via parent group Pearson’s ownership of the Financial Times). HarperCollins does not disaggregate its results, which makes the UK – as opposed to the US – performance hard to gauge. But, after a period of decline, its prospects do seem to have brightened in recent months.

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