Antitrust Enforcers Must Block Bertelsmann-Simon & Schuster Merger, and Break Up Amazon

November 25, 2020 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — The American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement in response to ViacomCBS’s announcement regarding the sale of Simon & Schuster to Bertelsmann.

“This merger is clearly illegal and should be blocked. Bertelsmann and Simon & Schuster are the number one and three players in the book publishing industry, and they are rival bidders in auctions for book proposals. If antitrust authorities allow this merger to go through, these auctions will become less competitive, suppressing compensation for authors and making book quality and diversity worse,” said Matt Stoller, Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project.

“The fact that these corporations are attempting to merge also shows why antitrust authorities must immediately take on the 800-pound gorilla in the industry, which is Amazon,” added Stoller. “Amazon’s massive bargaining power in book distribution makes publishers look like pipsqueaks. While publishers should not be allowed to combine so they can put pressure on authors and other book input suppliers like printers, they also should also not face a powerful monopolist like Amazon. Antitrust authorities need to block this merger and then urgently seek to break up Amazon, focusing on its power in the book market.”

Learn more about Amazon’s monopoly power by reading “Understanding Amazon: Making the 21st-Century Gatekeeper Safe for Democracy.”


Economic Liberties works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.