Penguin Acquires Simon & Schuster for $2.1 Billion: The Big Gets Bigger…and the Tough gets Tougher for Authors

There has been a big shakeup of news in the publishing industry. America’s largest publishing house (an American division of German media giant Bertelsmann) is set to purchase Simon & Schuster, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS.

This is a deal that is expected to close in the second half of 2021, and is worth more than $2 billion in an all cash deal. With Penguin Random House being such a powerhouse publishing outfit, the acquisition of Simon & Schuster strengthens their grip on the publishing world.

Some of Simon & Schuster’s authors include Stephen King, Hillary Clinton, and John Irving.

The Big Five Become Four

What makes this move particularly profound for the publishing community is that Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster represent two out of the “Big Five” publishing houses.

Up until now, the so-called Big Five of American publishing houses looked like this:

  1. HarperCollins (2.5% market share)
  2. Penguin Random House (8.1% market share)
  3. Simon & Schuster (2.9% market share)
  4. Hachette Book Group
  5. Macmillan

The cumulative market share of top 4 companies is 17%, with the remaining 73% represented by minor companies (like Made for Success). 

With PRH and S&S merging together, this list becomes a bit shorter now, and PRH becomes a bit more powerful than the rest.

Why does this matter to authors?

Sure, this is an interesting development in the publishing industry. And as Made for Success is an American publishing house based in the Seattle area, we’re of course interested in what that means for our future landscape.

But we’re writing about this today to tell YOU what it should mean to you as an author.

Getting published by one of the Big 5 has always been difficult for a first-time author. After all, this multi-billion dollar conglomerate publishing houses are usually more interested in acquiring skilled authors with a dedicated audience. Gambling on first-time authors represents a risk to them.

With the Big 5 becoming the Big 4, you can expect that the barrier to entry will be even higher than it was before.

The Made for Success Advantage for First-Time Authors

As a naturally smaller publishing house, we advocate greatly for first-time authors. And given our status as a boutique non-fiction publisher, we can offer a much more competitive plan that really does make sense. 

Higher Quality Book Release

With a smaller team working one-on-one with you, you can expect that your vision for writing your book will be translated in high-fidelity by our team into a robust release strategy. Backed by book sales & distribution powerhouse Ingram Publisher Services, your book is destined for success.

We can help you make all of the small fine tunings that make your book feel personalized to you as an author, and achieve the maximum result.

Here are just a few of the things that this includes:

  1. Better positioning to your audience

In working with the Made for Success team, we can ensure that your book is well-positioned for the audience that you want to reach. 

A conglomerate will expect you to conform to their own standards of audience development, but we’ll be able to work with you to aim your book directly at your target readers.

  1. Higher quality editing for flow, organization, and conventions

As a boutique-sized Seattle publishing company, we have a team of editors that can pay special attention to your manuscript to make recommendations on flow, organization, and conventions.

The result is a much more cohesive book that has a higher likelihood of resonating with your target audience.

  1. Highly customized print fulfillment for International operations

Want to reach readers internationally? We’ve got large global print and distribution resources for getting fulfilled in every segment of the globe, without having to take on every country or format all at once.

  1. Consistent dialogue with your exclusive editor

You’ll have a bi-weekly strategic session with your dedicated editor, who will help you form your ideas and execute your marketing strategy.

  1. Regular access to the our CEO and management for advice on strategy

Our CEO and publishing expert, Bryan Heathman is always available to our authors for advice on making their book a bestselling success.

The Power of Having a Team

In working together with a small team backed by big resources, you can have confidence that your book will have all of the foundations of success laid for it. You’ll be in experienced hands as you walk through the process from drafting the book to getting published.

With our experience, we can help save you from all of the common pitfalls and misguided marketing decisions that authors have made (like buying billboards or wrapping NASCARs) in a wistful attempt to sell more books.

With PRH and S&S combining forces, it just proves as a reminder to us how dedicated we are to helping our authors experience success. 

If you would like to talk to one of our book publishing experts, click here.