German author sues Random House for not releasing book on Islam


BERLIN: A German author is taking Random House to court over the publisher’s decision not to release his latest book on Islam.

The dispute between the publishing group and Thilo Sarrazin, a former central banker and Berlin state finance minister, will be heard before a court in Munich on Monday.

According to Bild newspaper, Sarrazin had in November 2016 signed a deal with Random House for a work of non-fiction with the working title Hostile Takeover: How Islam Hampers Progress and Threatens Society.

After accepting the delivery of Sarrazin’s manuscript in February this year, however, the Munich-based publishing group in May reportedly decided against publishing the book.

Sarrazin, a member of the centre-left Social Democratic party, has in the past courted controversy with his 2010 book Deutschland schafft sich ab(Germany is Digging its Own Grave), in which he accused immigrants of “dumping down” German society.

Sarrazin’s bestseller has been endorsed by rightwing populist party Alternative für Deutschland, who invited the 73-year-old to speak in front of the Bundestag this year.

A spokesperson for Random House said on Friday the publishing group neither planned to “stop” Sarrazin’s new book “nor hinder its publication”, but that the author was free “to publish his book with another publishing house”.

Hostile Takeover is scheduled to be published in late August by Munich-based FinanzBuch Verlag, a publisher that usually specialises in non-fiction books dealing with business and trading subjects.

Random House, originally a US publishing house, was bought by Germany’s Bertelsmann group in 1998 and in 2013 merged with Penguin to form Penguin Random House, the world’s largest book publisher.

Munich-based Verlagsgruppe Random House is not part of the Penguin Random House group, however, and remains owned by Bertelsmann only.