Headed for the Big Four?

The Wall Street Journal reports, based on anonymous sources, that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which owns HarperCollins, has expressed interest in buying Simon and Schuster.

This follows closely the announcement of a merger between Random House and Penguin, to be completed sometime next year. News Corp tried to make a bid, but was rebuffed.

As a graph in the WSJ story shows, the 2011 estimated market share for each publisher is:

Random House — 19%

Penguin — 9%

Combined RH/Penguin– 28%

HarperCollins — 12%

S&S — 9%

Combined Harper/Simon — 21%

Hachette (which includes Little, Brown and Grand Central), has an estimated 11% share. The market share for Macmillan, the other company in the so-called “Big Six,” is lumped in with the 41% “Others” category.

The new landscape may not be the Big Four, but the Big Two, Plus Four (Hachette, Macmillan, Wiley’s trade division and Harlequin).

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