So there’s been lot of tweeting lately about the Penguin-Random House merger (and some sad commentary, mostly on Tumblr, about the fact that the new company would not in fact be called Random Penguin.) O brave new world that has only three or four companies in it…that’s where we are heading, according to most of the smarty-pants people who read a lot more about the state of the economy than me.
The new company will have a quarter of the publishing market—a quarter. And I’ve read recently that other major houses are considering consolidation, and that the expected outcome is just a handful of mega companies will control all our entertainment options.
Of course everyone on down the line is watching, concerned. Fewer buyers will of course impact the sellers. But in the case of YA, what about the kids for whom those books are written? I think of these things because I am a selfless and practically angelic individual. Actually, I’m a teacher, and it’s more like a habit. But in all seriousness, if there are only a handful of publishers (or, gulp, one publisher)…how will that affect the options the next generation of kids find when they walk into a bookstore? (okay, probably when they log on to a bookstore…) Will AppleGoogleiBooks make sure there’s a title out there for everyone? Will titles which might appeal to a niche market be taken on when there are so many demands for cross-marketing and product placement and brand synergy?
That’s an advertising term: clutter. I know from (trying to) teach my students to be savvy consumers when we study marketing and propaganda and the like. And for a world that’s heading toward five gigantic companies, this world’s awfully full of clutter. I had a very confusing moment last night while trying to watch the latest episode of Revenge. A completely weird and seemingly unrelated scene took place, and I was confused for a full ten minutes, until I realized that scene had been an adverstisement, acted by the series stars, shot on the same film, in the same style as the series. Better yet: it was an ad for a partnership among Neiman Marcus, Target, and, of course, Revenge. For all I know Disney owns all three of these companies, not just the TV network.
So these ads kept coming up all through the freaking show, and it confused my DVRing, at the end of a tired day, because the faces were the same as the actors on the show. Which was, of course, all part of NeiTarvenge’s diabolical plan. It did not, however, make me want to go to Neiman Marcus (and it even made me sort of mad at my beloved Target)—so I’m pretty sure their plan backfired at my house, at least.
The ironic part about marketing is that the more they put out there, the more they add to the clutter, the greater the lengths they have to go to get our attention. Until the day in 2032 when probably Mark Zuckerberg makes one last merger and then we can all just sit back and enjoy the synergy.
|What does that even mean?|