Background: We have no one to blame but ourselves. In 1988 Bertelsmann, a multinational mass media corporation paid more than one billion for Random House. Nobody said anything. Like, Bertelsmann -- isn't that a German name? Or, aren't the Germans known for things like trying to dominate the world? No, we just let it happen. And then we had the recent merger of Random House and Penguin. Except of course, it wasn't a merger. It was, as My Little Publishing Company has recently revealed, a huge criminal conspiracy.
It's not that we weren't warned. As Adam Davidson reported in the New York Times:
"Most observers expect that this is just the beginning of a series of mergers -- like those in the music business -- that will take the Big Six Publishers down to the Big Three and perhaps one day even the Big One."
"This is the Big One!" announced the CEP (Chief Executive Penguin). We were all gathered in the conference room at the Penguin Group offices on Hudson Street. I had just discovered the meaning behind the penguin staff mantra, Obow. Oh, boy! Obow meant one book. One world. The well-meaning community-reading program One Book, One Town had been the inspiration for this nefarious scheme to annihilate the publishing industry.
"But it's impossible," I said to the CEP. "One book can't possibly satisfy everyone."
"Actually that's not true," said the CEP, picking a piece of krill fish from his teeth. "There is a precedence: The Bible, The Big Book of AA, The Book of Mormon."
"And don't forget and 50 Shades of Grey, "said one of the junior penguins.
"Quiet!" commanded the CEP.
"How do you propose to create this one book?" I asked.
"It's quite simple. We take elements of the greatest books ever written, Madame Bovary, War and Peace, Lolita ..."
"50 Shades of Grey," the same penguin said hopefully.
"Take him out!" The unfortunate penguin was roughly escorted out of the room."Where was I?" said the CEP, scratching his head with his flipper. "Oh yes. Throw in a little of the modern stuff like Franzen and McEwan and we'll get Charlotte to put it all together."
"I'm afraid Charlotte's a bit burned out," said a penguin referring to Charlotte Dickens the woman hired by the penguin cartel to ghostwrite 50 Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games [February 10, 2013 Bovary's Blog]
"No matter. There are millions of writers out there crying for work," said the CEP. Then he turned and looked at me. "You! You'll do it," he said, fixing me with his beady little penguin eyes.
"No! I won't be part of your nefarious plan. Besides. I've given up writing. I've got a publishing company to run. My Little Publishing Company."
"Over my big tail. You'll do it."
"Then we'll have to kill you," said the CEP.
"You'll have to kill Watson as well." Watson, the fearless investigator who first came to me with this story stood beside me.
"Ha! Watson is one of us."
Watson slipped off his size 13 tasseled loafers and I saw that he was standing on large penguin feet.
"Obow. Oh, Boy! Obow. Oh, Boy!" The penguins began chanting once again. I admit I was afraid. Very afraid. But I had one card up my sleeve and I played it.
"Wait. Haven't you heard?"
"Heard what?" said the CEP
For the first time since this whole horrible conspiracy was revealed I was able to smile.
"People don't read any more," I said. And I began to laugh. But I knew that wasn't the end of it.
You see where all this is going? I'll tell you where. One publisher, one big book, written by one author and released once a year. Copies of the one book will be available on Nookindles (a Kindle Nook merger) all for sale at one exorbitant price. Then the One Book becomes the Movie, the Musical, the Broadway Play the TV Series and ultimately the big dance craze on YouTube.
This is the biggest anti-trust situation since the 1911 Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil. Writers, we have to do something. Write your congressman, write the Justice Department. No forget that. Write Obama. He reads. He cares. Demand a special investigation. You think you have a chance in hell of ever getting your precious book published? It's time to take a stand.
Editor's note: This blog post is satirical.