News of a potential Penguin-Random House merger has birthed a "binders full of women"-level meme on the literary Internet. Pearson announced yesterday that they're discussing the sale of Penguin to Random House's overlords, Bertelsmann, which could mean layoffs, lowered competition, and less bargaining power for agents and authors. The Random Penguin vs. Penguin House showdown isn't meant to downplay the seriousness of that news. This is just how the Internet processes scary consolidation news— not with a gasp of fright, but with a silly cartoon. If one were to take a (very unscientific) Twitter poll on which absurd name the new company should adopt, Random Penguin would win by a landslide. Let's take a look at who's in each corner:
Random Penguin supporters:
- Melville House (indie publisher; serial tweeter of random penguin photos)
- John Scalzi (Science fiction novelist; blogger; Penguin House loather)
- Deborah Orr (Guardian columnist; wife of Booker-shortlisted novelist Will Self)
- Maureen Johnson (New York Times bestselling Y.A. author)
Penguin House partisans:
- McNally Jackson (New York City independent bookstore)
- Housing Works Books (another New York City bookstore)
- Beth Simone Noveck (former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer)
- A joke Twitter account that cropped up this morning
- Rick Riordan (author of the Percy Jackson series)
You could say that Random Penguin secured a landslide victory here. But the person who actually won this meme is undoubtedly Brooklyn bookseller Emily Pullen:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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