Today in books and publishing: News Corp. now wants to merge HarperCollins with Simon & Schuster; Sandy ruined 9,000 books in a Chelsea store; you'll never guess which two series have sold the most Kindle books.

HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster merger being discussed. Just before Random House officially announced its merger with Penguin, Rupert Murdoch expressed last-minute interest in purchasing the historic publisher from Pearson. But Penguin slipped through his hands, and he was not too happy about it. Now, in order for News Corp.'s publishing property—HarperCollins—to compete with the new behemoth Penguin Random House, it will have to pair off with another Big Six publisher. Simon & Schuster might be just what HarperCollins is looking for, and according to The Wall Street Journal (another Murdoch holding), talks of a merger are already in the works. "A deal isn't imminent," unidentified sources warn, but, as our colleagues over at Quartz note, a merger of this size could make the new publisher responsible for $2 billion in annual sales. Unfortunately, there's really no way to turn HarperCollins/Simon & Schuster into a cute meme on the level of Random Penguin. SimonCollins? Harper & Schuster? Seriously, what are they going to call this thing without going over eight syllables? [paidContent]

Printed Matter sustained heavy damage during Sandy. Most bookstores in New York got through the storm with minimal damage, but a few got hit hard. DUMBO's powerHouse Arena took a beating, but relief efforts seem to be underway. Another store that didn't fare well was Chelsea's Printed Matter. Their basement flooded pretty badly, and now that they've had time to size up the damage, executive director James Jenkin pegs the damage at $200,000 total. Almost 9,000 artists' books got waterlogged. The store was located in Zone A, but Jenkin says the store prepared as best as it could. "Everything was as high as it physically could have been," he tells Hyperallergic's Maeve Gately. [Hyperallergic]

Best-selling Kindles of all time. If everyone in the music industry should be lining up to thank Adele for saving their jobs, publishing professionals might want to do the same for E.L. James and Suzanne Collins. It's no secret that their series were the biggest phenoms in the book trade this year, and now, with this list of best-selling Kindle books of all time, we know just how huge they were. Fifty Shades of Grey places first, with Fifty Shades Darker placing at No. 5. The Hunger GamesCatching Fire, and Mockingjay come in at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively.  [Mashable]

Graphic novels awarded some respect. Another literary award committee has come around to graphic novels. The U.K.'s Costa Book Awards shortlist has been announced, and for the first time  it features graphic novels. And not just one, but two. Joff Winterhart's Days of the Bagnold Summer was nominated in the novel category, while Mary and Bryan Talbot's Dotter of Her Father's Eyes is in the running for best biography. This year's Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel also makes the cut. [The Independent]