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Nayia Moysidis

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Sleeping With the Frenemy

Posted: 11/30/2012 5:12 pm

You might have heard a few weeks ago of a large, powerful suitor attempting to charm the sweetheart of the group, and no, we're not talking about The Bachelor. We're referring to HarperCollins offering to buy Penguin with a last-minute $1.6 billion bid. Maybe you were surprised to see that two established competitors were looking to jump into bed together. Or maybe you weren't. Maybe you were even expecting the news, given the PDA already happening between Penguin and Random House. As we all know, nothing sparks sudden interest better than interest from another.

Penguin and Random House got married and rode off into the sunset, but HarperCollins hasn't given up just yet. This week, HarperCollins' publishing promiscuity invited another player into the mix: Simon & Schuster. But this relationship has a different dynamic than HarperCollins' last attempted penguin plunge: HarperCollins doesn't want to buy -- they want to merge.

One thing is becoming clear. All the players of the publishing industry are exchanging their fists for open arms. What's going on? Why are all these competitors suddenly involved in the largest love fest since the Beatles concert of '65?

Because an enemy's enemy is a friend. Amazon is gobbling up (not just a Thanksgiving reference) all of the opportunity in the industry, and while many are quick to point fingers at what they call the conventional publishing industry's imminent demise, there is something of significance happening here. Random House turned down the exit opportunity. The houses aren't looking for a way out of the game -- they're fighting back. To torture the extended love metaphor, they're establishing long relationships, rejecting the easy night of passion.

What does this mean for the most notoriously perpetual bachelor of them all: Amazon? It could mean many, but one thing's for sure: If the old school industry is willing to change up their mating patterns, they're going to fight to the end. Until death do them part.

This piece was initially published on the Writer's Bloq Blog.

 

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