The Authors Guild has signed on to a letter from the Open Markets Institute to the Department of Justice asking the DOJ to block the merger of Quad/Graphics and its competitor LSC Communications, two printers who collectively dominate the long-run magazine and trade book printing markets. The lack of competition among book printers has already caused a bottleneck and increased publishing costs, and a merger between these two companies could exacerbate this situation by creating a monopoly. Control over the printing process can lead to control over what gets printed. As former Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission Robert Pitofsky said, if someone monopolizes books, then “you’re talking about implications that go way beyond what the wholesale price of the books might be.” Antitrust law can be a valuable tool, preventing companies from combining in a way that limits freedom of the press and freedom of speech—which is why the Guild urges the DOJ to use it to block this proposed merger. Antitrust law can and should be better utilized to protect authors’ rights, as we state in our 2019 Legislative Priorities.
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