Monday, September 26, 2011

Trident Launches eBook Division

Trident Media Group has become the latest--and by far the largest--literary agency to announce an initiative to help their clients epublish, often independently of established publishing houses. The new initiative, called Trident E-Book Operations, will "create, manage and implement innovative e-book strategies for its authors, including the distribution of a variety of e-books directly" to major etailers. (Though they also see establishing "new business relationships with traditional and non-traditional publishers.") Lyuba DiFalco and Nicole Robson will serve in the new position of co-directors of E-Book Operations, supervised by Trident's top executives.
Chairman Robert Gottlieb, who has been outspoken in the past about agents who establish publishing operations, says in the announcement, "Trident will devise strategies to maximize value for its authors in the new and complex e-book publishing field. Trident will not become a publisher, but will instead continue in its new e-book operations to have itself aligned with its clients whose interests we serve as an agent and manager." Trident intends to charge its standard agency commission on revenues generated for authors through the new unit.
The announcement indicates Trident will provide a "comprehensive suite of services" comprising much of what authors need in order to bring works to market electronically, from copy-editing, marketing and cover design to digital conversion. They foresee covering properties of all types (out-of-print, backlist, frontlist and unpublished short-form) in multiple formats (ebook; enhanced ebook; print-on-demand).
The move seems designed to serve authors in the alternate channels that epublishing provides as well as potentially strengthen the agency's hand in negotiating with traditional publishers. Asked if this would affect their approach to the standard ebook royalty terms from major publishers, Gottlieb said, "We are always looking to improve these terms where possible under all circumstances." And he responded affirmatively when we asked if developing robust epublishing capabilities was a prelude to seeking to split electronic and print rights for some clients.
Gottlieb will appear on an agents panel this afternoon at our eBooks for Everyone Else conference, where he said he would address some additional details.

*From today's Publisher's Lunch

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