|Weekly News Digest
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Thoughts on Simon & Schuster From The Passive Voice
The Passive Voice blog shared an article from Literary Hub titled “In Praise of the Worker-Owned Company (OR: What to Do About Simon and Schuster),” which floats the following idea:
Our nation’s third-largest publisher [Simon & Schuster] doesn’t have to be owned by a mass media conglomerate or a private equity firm. There exists another option, one that would bring much-needed democracy to publishing by putting decision-making power into the hands of the very people who know books best: let the employees of Simon & Schuster purchase Simon & Schuster. They do the work, after all. Let them own their company. Let them call the damn shots.
Worker-owned cooperatives are so rare in America that it’s difficult for us to imagine the sense of pride and ownership that comes when we work for ourselves, participating actively in major company decisions, sharing equally in profits and losses.
Blogger PG responds, in part:
Would a bank or another rich family want to buy Simon & Schuster [S&S]? PG has his doubts because the traditional publishing business doesn’t earn much money any more. S&S is worth something, but likely not enough to induce anyone responsible to loan the employees the money to pay the Redstones [the family that owns the parent company of S&S]. But, as usual, PG could be wrong.
One commenter notes the following:
The only good thing might be if said employees are capable of doing everything PG has advocated for years: getting out of Manhattan, not paying the upper management huge bonuses, giving the lower levels (including interns) a living wage, accepting the election (ebooks) and lowering prices on said to what they cost instead of propping up hardcovers, selling directly WELL, changing the returns system. POD would probably be too much to ask, but there ARE plenty of cost-cutting measures that might work—but have been resolutely ignored by those benefiting, for years.
For more information, read the blog post and its always-insightful comments.
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