Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s latest book is about challenging powerful monopolies — but she might want to include a chapter on her own publisher.

The book by the chair of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee is called “Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age,” and is out April 27 from Penguin Random House imprint Knopf.

But publishing insiders are raising eyebrows.

“The only wrinkle is that it’s being published by Penguin Random House, which is in the process of trying to buy Simon & Schuster, which would create a ‘mega-publisher’ in the words of the New York Times,” says a book source.

ViacomCBS said last year it will sell Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.2 billion.

But the Authors Guild, the National Writers Union and other writers groups have urged the the Department of Justice to block the merger.

In a letter this year they claimed the deal would “bring well more than half of key U.S. book markets under the control of a single corporation, which poses a variety of potential threats to freedom of speech and democracy in the United States.” The letter was also signed by the Western Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Sisters in Crime.

A publishing pro mused to Page Six that if the Klobuchar’s book is “a trust-busting manifesto against monopoly power” as advertised, “it’ll be slightly awkward then for the Senator as she promotes her book.”

A description of Klobuchar’s book on her publisher’s site says, “Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today — and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge.” And, “Klobuchar writes of the historic and current fights against monopolies in America.”

Amy Klobuchar listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill.
Amy Klobuchar listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill
AP

Knopf’s corporate parent Penguin Random House also owns dozens of imprints including Plume, Viking, Dell, Crown and Dutton. The publisher has argued its Simon & Schuster acquisition would not create a market share worthy of triggering an antitrust investigation, and that Simon & Schuster editors would be free to compete with Penguin Random House editors for manuscripts, according to Publishers Weekly.

Knopf’s description of Klobuchar’s book also mentions it explores the Clayton Act of 1914. The letter from writers protesting the deal said: “The takeover falls clearly within the standard of illegality set by the Clayton Act and should be summarily rejected.”

British watchdog the Competition & Markets Authority is investigating the deal, and Publishers Marketplace reported last month that the Department of Justice has allegedly extended its review of the merger to a “second request” for more detailed information.

The publication also reported a Penguin Random House rep as saying:  “We are continuing to cooperate with the DOJ and continue to expect a closing during 2021.” 

A 2013 merger between Penguin and Random House created the world’s largest publisher at the time.

Knopf commented, “In her forthcoming book, Senator Klobuchar discusses anti-trust through the years, zeroing in on big tech and big pharma. She writes about publishing as well, expressing her view that the book industry has become increasingly consolidated.”

Sen. Klobuchar said the book will address the merger, telling Page Six in a statement: “The book includes a discussion on the increasing consolidation in the publishing industry, including this proposed merger, and the problems consolidation presents for authors and competition.”

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