Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster, Deep Vellum Publishing Acquires Dalkey Archive Press, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Penguin Random House, which is owned by Bertelsmann, has purchased Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for more than $2 billion. Already the largest book publisher in the United States, Penguin Random House would control an estimated 30 percent of the U.S. book market after the acquisition. Several potential buyers expressed interest when ViacomCBS first put Simon & Schuster up for sale in March; aside from Bertelsmann, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, was reportedly a top contender. The New York Times expects the merger will raise concerns among antitrust regulators.  

Employees at Penguin Random House Canada have criticized company executives over the decision to publish a new book by psychologist Jordan Peterson, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, in March 2021. A popular figure in right-wing circles, Peterson has been widely criticized for his anti-trans and racist rhetoric. (Vice)

Deep Vellum Publishing has acquired Dalkey Archive Press. A notable publisher of translated literature, Dalkey Archive will now will operate as a distinct imprint of Deep Vellum. Publishers Weekly reports that the merger was approved shortly before the death of Dalkey Archive founder John O’Brien, who passed on Saturday at age seventy-five. 

“I am not writing much poetry this week, but I am thinking a lot about poems.” In early November, awaiting the results of the presidential election, Michael Torres reflected on the quietness of poetry. (Harriet)

The New York Times recommends seven books forthcoming in December, including Black Futures, an interdisciplinary anthology of contemporary Black art, edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham.  

Barack Obama’s latest memoir, A Promised Land, has set new first-day and first-week sales records at Penguin Random House. (Shelf Awareness)

Hugh Hamrick, David Sedaris’s boyfriend of almost thirty years, talks to Vulture about the trials and joys of living with a writer

Marie-Helene Bertino recruited a close friend and voice actor, Charles Hagerty, to perform a reading of her Thanksgiving short story, “North Of.” (Literary Hub)