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Stephen King Testifies for Government in Book Merger Trial | Entertainment

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is trying to convince federal judges that the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster will hurt the careers of some of the most popular authors. , relying in part on the testimony of the writer: Stephen King.

Favorite author of “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and many more, King wants to turn against his longtime publisher, Simon & Schuster. His public criticism of a $2.2 billion deal announced in late 2021 joins two of the world’s biggest publishers, with Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Peach calling it a “huge deal.” I joined what I called a “prominent” entity.

“The more publishers consolidate, the harder it is for indie publishers to survive,” King said last year.

King, one of the few widely known writers known for his modestly sized glasses and thin face, is scheduled to take the stand on Tuesday.

He may not have the business savvy of DOJ’s first witness, Pietsch, but having been a published novelist for nearly 50 years, he knows all too well how the industry has changed. “Carrie,” for example, was published by Doubleday, which merged with Knopf Publishing Group in 2009 and is now part of his Penguin Random House. Viking Press, another former King publisher, was a Penguin imprint and joined Penguin Random House when Penguin and Random was published. The houses merged in 2013.

King’s affinity for smaller publishers is personal. While continuing to publish in her Scribner under the Simon & Schuster imprint, she writes thrillers independently for her Hard Case Crime. A few years ago, a publisher asked him to contribute a blurb, but instead King offered to write a novel, The Colorado Kid, released in 2005.

Hardcase co-founder Charles Aldai remembers thinking, “I was doing a cartwheel on the inside,” when King contacted him.

King himself could benefit from a deal with Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, but he has a history of prioritizing priorities other than material well-being. Although “rich” certainly includes Stephen King, he has long criticized tax cuts for the rich and openly asked the government to increase them.

“In America, we should all be paid our fair share,” he wrote in 2012 for The Daily Beast.

On Monday, lawyers from both sides offered contrasting views of the book industry. He cited a controlled and dangerously narrow market.

Attorney Daniel Petrocelli defended that the industry is indeed diverse, lucrative and open to new entrants. Publishing means not only the Big Five, but also mid-sized companies like WW Norton & Co. and Grove Atlantic. He argued that the merger would in no way overrule the ambitions many have for literary success.

“Every book starts out as an expected bestseller in the glint of an author’s or editor’s eye,” he said.

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