Stephen King testifies against proposed Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster merger

Famed horror writer Stephen King testified for the US Department of Justice on Tuesday, arguing that a proposed merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster will harm writers, per The Associated Press,

King is one of the world’s best-known authors, with mega best-sellers such as “The Shining”, which was made into an acclaimed 1980 film, and “Carrie, his first published novel, which he sold and produced in 1973”. also a film, a cult classic of 1976. He has published about 100 novels and novels, according to his site, His latest came out in September 2022, called “Fairy Tail”.

During his testimony, he said that having fewer publishers available would hurt authors, and the two publishing houses’ claims that they would still compete for manuscripts were questionable.

“You can even say you’re going to have a husband and wife bidding against each other for the same house,” he said, according to the AP. “It would be very gentle and kind, ‘after you’ and ‘after you.'”

Simon & Schuster is the publisher of King, but he sided with the government, which sue to block Penguin Random House, from buying Simon & Schuster last November according to axios,

King also discussed his career and under questioning in a statement, the outlet reported. He said that when he was first looking for a publisher in the 1970s, there were many to choose from, but now it’s limited to the “Big Five” in New York.

They are Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishing, Hatchet Book Group and Macmillan.

Simon & Schuster’s CEO, Jonathan Karp, questioned why it’s still a competitive environment.

There is also a feeling in the publishing world that they need to band together to compete with Amazon, wrote Frank Foyer. the Atlantic in November 2020.

“To compete with Amazon, publishers seek to increase their bargaining power. They believe they can meet the size of Amazon only by developing their own,” he wrote.

Like many industries, consolidation has long been the way of things. “With the big fish swallowing up the small fish, the book business is becoming increasingly competitive and ferocious,” wrote one author in a 1970 Businessweek excerpt, according to one 2001 Bulletin of the Medical Library Association Article.

Kings also discussed the difficult economics of selling books for authors. “I came because I think consolidation is bad for competition,” King said, per the AP.

“The way the industry has evolved,” he said, “it becomes harder and harder for writers to find money to make a living.”

More than half of writers earn The US fell below the federal poverty line in 2015 According to a survey by the Authors Guild, according to The Guardian.