Mergers and Buyouts and Takeovers, Oh My!

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

Yesterday brought the surprise of the Penguin-Random House merger. If approved Penguin Random House will be the world’s largest book publisher. The announcement caused a groundswell of author angst that very nearly paralleled the anxiety over the Super Storm also taking place in New York City.

Many a blogger is talking about the merger today— what it may mean for the industry, for editors and publishing professionals, for agents and for authors. I’m not going to address any of those things. I want to talk about the the worry and wringing of hands by so many authors. Some are predicting contracts being cancelled and imprints being folded. Others are taking a global view of the merger and predicting the end of publishing as we know it.

In the words of my sweet mother—snap out of it!

  • Nothing can be done about it, no matter how much you fret.
  • It’s impossible to predict what will happen. Anyone who proposes to know at this point is just guessing.
  • People who embrace change generally profit by it.
  • Yes there may be some opportunities that are lost but there may very well be new opportunities that will be tailor made for you.

Sarah Young in her wonderful book, Jesus Calling, had this to say on October 27th, “I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative Being imaginable. I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know. Stay in communication with Me. Follow My guiding Presence.”

There’s the real answer for us when considering all the changes in publishing. No matter how many mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and buyouts might happen, none of it is a surprise to God. It may seem like the CEOs, the attorneys and the corporate elite are in charge but we know the truth. Right?

I’m going to be flying all day so this is another day I won’t be able to join in the discussion, but please feel free to comment. Agree ? Disagree?


24 Responses

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  1. Rick Barry says:

    Yes, I agree 100%. People can develop ulcers and high blood pressure fretting about things beyond their control. I like to preface the old “Keep calm and carry on” with the words “Trust God.”

  2. Lisa says:

    I love Jesus Calling!

    Change is hard to embrace, but God is faithful 🙂

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. I agree. When I read about it in The Wall Street Journal the other day, I began wondering what it might mean for authors. It made me temporarily nervous. But as soon as I stepped back and remembered that God is in control, my anxiety subsided. Change can often be a very good thing.

  4. Thanks for the reminder that God is in control. Always.

  5. Jill Kemerer says:

    I just got off the phone with my mom. We were discussing this very thing! No, not the merger–but how we’re in surrender mode w/our Savior right now. We don’t have to know all the answers to trust that God has a plan for us. Isn’t that wonderful?

  6. Ann Bracken says:

    When I heard about it, I started playing with the name of the new company in my head. Will it be Penguin House? Random Penguin? Mega-publishing ‘R Us?

    The company I work for in my day job is going through a merger. There is quite a bit of hand-wringing going on here as well. The truth is that if we are profitable, they will want us. It really doesn’t matter which industry it is.

  7. Thank you! I learned early on in my military career that when faced with changes, you have 2 choices – don’t accept it and be miserable, or accept it with grace and move forward. The latter is much less stressful.

  8. Beth K. Vogt says:

    Agree — wholeheartedly.
    When my husband was in the military, we learned to say: Uncle Sam likes to think he is in charge of our lives, i.e. where we live next — but we know God is. It took us (well, really it took me!) a few years to learn this truth. But when I did, I slept better at night and was a lot calmer during the day.

  9. Wendy, worry is such a problem for me, so I’ve memorized Matthew 6:33-34. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Can’t say I’m cured, but I’m better.

  10. Naomi Musch says:

    Seems that every new worry is really a new adventure in disguise. Great perspective in this post!

  11. You’re spot on, Wendy. There’s never been a sea parted or kingdom built outside of God’s line of vision. Without the freedom to choose, there can be no love. He knows those choices before we even make them, yet still works His will through fabric of our existence. The master Architect continues to build, so fear is a waste of time that could be used for praise.

  12. I took a Beth Moore study with a group of friends–I think it was the one on Revelation–and we learned this line: Remember, God is on His throne.

    Now, whenever one of us begins fretting, we’ll repeat those words to each other. I often say them to myself when I start spinning out of control down the worry path. God IS on His throne.

  13. I saw it too.
    Great advice, Wendy.
    I agree with you.
    Pray, watch, and there will always be change.

  14. Kiersti says:

    What a good reminder. My family loves Jesus Calling too. 🙂

  15. So so true!

  16. Peter DeHaan says:

    We can’t control the merger or what happens as a result of it, but we can control our reaction to it.

  17. Agree! God has this story written. And because He is in nature Good, His story will have a happy ending. Although there may be suspense, intrigue and action before we get there.

  18. Sue Harrison says:

    What a great angle of attack, Wendy. Trust God. I’ve had some semi-sad experiences because of mergers in the past – Doubleday with Bertelsmann and Wm Morrow with HarperCollins – but I can look back and see that God was in control and wanted me to go in a direction that I thought was closed to me. Now it looks like maybe it’s not, and I’ve never been happier writing!