Thursday, August 26, 2010

The RH/Wylie Showdown Ends, New Digital Royalty Rate Is Born

The news that Random House had "won" its showdown with The Wylie Agency, over the inclusion of titles by its authors in Wylie's backlist digital publishing business Odyssey Editions, spread through publishing circles quickly on Tuesday, after Random House and Wylie released a joint statement. The statement said that Random House will now be the exclusive e-book publisher of its 13 titles originally part of Odyssey Editions and that, as a result of the agreement, Random House will lift its ban on doing business with the agency.

Random House corporate spokesperson Stuart Applebaum, who would not comment on the digital royalty rate Random House and Wylie reached, said that the publisher has made Nabokov's Lolita and a handful of the other 13 titles available to e-book retailers across the country already. (Currently, Lolita is available as a Kindle edition on Amazon, though the e-tailer still indicates the book is available only in the Kindle format and that the publisher is Odyssey Editions.) Applebaum said Random House hopes to deliver the other titles to its various e-book retailers "within the week." (One aspect of the Odyssey deal that was the most criticized was that titles were being sold only through Amazon.)

While Applebaum held the line on the question of the digital royalty rate--he said that "Random House has been engaging in ongoing and productive conversations relating to e-book rights for certain Random House backlist titles and the arrangement reached with The Wylie Agency to now publish these particular titles as e-books in the United States is consistent with agreements we've reached with other literary agents"--one high-placed source with direct knowledge of the rights talks said the house has quietly been offering agents a better deal on backlist e-book rights for a brief period now . . .

*excerpt from an article by . Go to PW to read more.

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