Monday, 26 July 2010

Wylie vs Random House

Perhaps inevitably, following the announcement that literary agent Andrew Wylie will publish ebook editions of his clients' backlists exclusively through Amazon for two years, you can now follow 'EvilWylie' and 'GoodRandomHouse' as they bicker about it on Twitter.

My favourite comments were on a forum for readers of ebooks which is also frequented by indie authors -mostly struggling writers who have taken the self-publishing route, though there are also published authors who are putting their backlists on Amazon to try to make a few quid from their out of print books.

One forum member wanted to know why Wylie's clients didn't just go ahead and put their own books up on Amazon in return for 70% of net receipts in the US and 35% elsewhere (which is the deal Amazon is offering to anyone who publishes a book for the kindle, so long as it is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, is not DRM-protected, offers text-to-speech facilities and is not listed at a lower price elsewhere). I love to think of Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis swapping tips about how to Photoshop ebook covers for their backlist with the intention of doing Wylie 'the Jackal' out of his 10%.

Another forum member (a writer) was puzzled by all this talk of authors' estates. 'I don't suppose they have estates. They probably just live hand-to-mouth like the rest of us.'

Meanwhile here is a lovely link to John Gall, VP & Art Director for Vintage and Anchor books, talking (back in 2008) on a Barnes & Noble video about how he comes up with the designs for authors' books. Salman and Martin, take note. Thanks to Ron Canepa for the link.

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