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Antitrust trial puts book publishing industry in the dock

NEW YORK (AP) — The Justice Department’s effort to block the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster isn’t just a showcase for the Biden administration’s tougher approach to corporate consolidation, it’s a rare moment for the publishing industry itself to be placed in the dock.

Through the first week of an expected two- to three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Washington, top publishing executives at Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and elsewhere, along with agents and such authors as Stephen King, have shared opinions, relived disappointments and revealed financial figures they otherwise would have preferred to discuss privately or confide on background with reporters.

“I apologize for the passionate language,” Penguin Random House CEO Markus…


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