The Atlantic

The Monster Publishing Merger Is About Amazon

Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster is not the gravest danger to the publishing business. The deal is transpiring in a larger context—and that context is Amazon.
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In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower’s attorney general, William Rogers, read the paper with alarm. He learned that Random House intended to purchase the venerable publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Rogers began making calls to prod his antitrust division into blocking the sale. In those days, monopoly loomed as a central concern of government—and a competitive book business was widely seen as essential to preserving both intellectual life and democracy. After checking with his sources, Rogers discovered that the merger would

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