By: Jeff Herman
As you may have heard in today's news, Congress passed a low requiring that all foreign companies divest their US publishing assets in the next 90 days. Approximately 65% of America's publishing assets are now on the block, including such proverbial names as Random House, Macmillan, Harper Collins, Little Brown, Knopf, and many others. Their combined catalogs are worth many $billions, but the sudden and cumulative sale of so many properties will put downward pressure on what can be gotten, especially since buyers are limited to US firms while credit is scarce.
I just made up most of the above. What's true is that most US publishing is owned by firms and individuals that are non-American. That's been the trend for many years. Does it matter? I don't know. Most of the US operations are performed by Americans. What would a German or Frenchman know about our tastes? Probably enough to know to stay off-shore.
Why did I make this up? Well it could happen. Some people might think it should happen. And because it's kinda of interesting to think about how our written cultural legacy is largely outside our country. Does that matter? Again, I don't know. I'm not trying to cause trouble, but we ought to be aware about certain things that affect us.