(Washington) It’s the turn of the master of horrors to be “concerned”: Stephen King, author of chilling best-sellers, revealed his fears at the increasing concentration in the publishing industry in a US court on Tuesday.
Posted at 3:56pm
The father of works like glowing and It testified in Washington against the proposed merger between his own publisher Simon & Schuster and giant Penguin Random House, an operation valued at nearly $2.2 billion.
The US government opposes the birth of a juggernaut with “disproportionate influence over the authors and works that are published and the amounts paid to authors” and has asked Stephen King to be its key witness at the trial.
Dressed in a gray suit and tie that reflects the seriousness of things, the 75-year-old man with a slim build and square features spent nearly an hour describing developments in the industry throughout his long career.
“I’m here because I think consolidation is bad for the competition,” he explained.
“I’ve been in the book business for about 50 years. When I started there were literally hundreds of publishers. One by one they were swallowed by others or they put the key under the door,” he explained.
As a result, “it became increasingly difficult for writers to raise enough money to live on”.
The heart of the file: the receipt advances that publishers offer their authors before writing the works. Newcomers usually have little or no claim to it, but with successful authors publishers compete and sometimes outbid each other.
Stephen King said his first check in 1974 was for $2,500 carriewhose sales exploded after its film adaptation.
After a handful of other bestsellers, including glowinghe had suggested to his publisher that he reserve his next three books for him for $2 million. He refused to “laugh out”.
Stephen King had gone elsewhere, taken part in the competition and enjoyed a string of successes with prestigious publishers throughout the 1980s, while continuing to publish some of his books for more confidential and less profitable houses.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to afford not to have to follow my bank account, to follow my heart,” said Stephen King, who in 2012 was notable for campaigning to end taxation of the wealthy, among other things to strengthen his own fortune.
Knowing that he is privileged, he lamented that his colleagues operate in “a difficult world”. At the end of the hearing, he added being “very concerned” while signing autographs.
The process is expected to take another two weeks.