Super agent Andrew Wylie has retreated, regrouped and/or renegotiated in his struggle with Random House over ebook rights. After Wylie announced that he would bypass the Big Six publisher by selling his author’s digital work directly to consumers through Amazon.com’s Kindle store, new and old media debates raged. Was this the final nail in the coffin for traditional publishing? Did the authors support Wylie’s bold move? Could he even follow through? Lines were drawn and opinions flared. Much attention was drawn to the plight and future of publishing, but the final verdict is still out. It’s too early to understand Wylie’s decision, but the detente is likely fragile and short lived.
Random House, which publishes 13 of the books in physical format, was outraged at the development and promptly issued a statement announcing that it would not enter any new English-language business agreements with the Wylie Agency – home to 700 authors and estates – until the situation was resolved… A joint statement issued [two days ago] by the publisher and the Wylie Agency said the two parties had “resolved [their] differences”, and that the 13 “disputed” Random House titles… were being removed from Odyssey Editions and taken off sale.
“We have agreed that Random House shall be the exclusive ebook publisher of these titles for those territories in which Random House US controls their rights,” said the joint statement. “The titles soon will be available for sale on a non-exclusive basis through all of Random House’s current ebook customers. Random House is resuming normal business relations with the Wylie Agency for English-language manuscript submissions and potential acquisitions, and we both are glad to be able to put this matter behind us.” (“Truce called in battle over ebook rights” via The Guardian)
It’s interesting how quickly, how enthusiastically battle lines have been drawn after Andrew Wylie and, more recently, Seth Godin announced that he would skip traditional publishers in an attempt to connect directly with readers. Everyone is looking for a bellwether, but it looks like — at least for the time being — Andrew Wylie has retreated, regrouped and/or renegotiated. Do you think this truce between the Wylie Agency and Random House will endure?
- Wylie’s Amazon deal brings the end of the publishing world nigh (guardian.co.uk)
- Andrew Wylie, Literary Agent, Plans E-Books (nytimes.com)