I’ve been following (via Twitter) some of the testimony in the antitrust case the US Department of Justice brought against the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon and Schuster.
I confess I haven’t followed it in detail because (a) I’m opposed to mergers of big publishing houses (and other large corporations) in general, so I don’t need to read much about it to know what I think, and (b) I know enough about antitrust law to know it’s painful to read about even though it’s important.
I may go back and catch up, though, just to get a feeling for how well DOJ is doing. Over the years US antitrust enforcement has become very weak, so even though it’s pretty clear that these companies shouldn’t merge, it’s by no means certain that they’ll be stopped.
Even if I catch up, though, I’m not going to write about antitrust issues, because I only do that if someone is paying me big bucks. (I used to have to edit antitrust class action stories in my day job and let me tell you, I earned my money and then some those days.)
One thing that really got me from reading Twitter was the realization that lumping writers together as one category makes almost no sense.
I think there are three things that most writers have in common:
- They want to write.
- They want to be read.
- They want to get paid.
There are exceptions even to those three categories, but those three things are true of most of us.
But when it comes to what we want to write and even what we’re willing to write to make money, writers are arranged along a long spectrum.
There is a world of difference between a journalist who writes best-selling self help books and someone writing, say, experimental fiction. Continue reading “Good and Bad Books”…