Friday, July 30, 2010

When Titans Collide

Ed here: I thought this might be of interest. Two big shots in a shoot-out. Just like all those old Whip Wilson movies (I wonder how many of you remember Whip--he always struck m as the laziest movie cowboy of all. He didn't walk, he moseyed. :) BTW you'll note that the link reads "when assholes collide." I'm sure Huff Post nixed that for the headline.

When Titans Collide by Matt Stewart

Two publishing industry titans smashed into each other last week, and it couldn't have come sooner.

Basically, Random House has been screwing authors by assuming ebook rights they were never contractually awarded--because ebooks hadn't been invented in contracts negotiated fifteen-plus years ago. It's the equivalent of a horse and buggy salesman assuming a Ford dealership for free. Also, Random House has dictated a 25% author royalty rate for ebooks, even though the Authors Guild says "knowledgeable authors and agents...are well aware that e-book royalty rates of 25% of net proceeds are exceedingly low and contrary to the long-standing practice of authors and publishers to, effectively, split evenly the net proceeds of book sales."

Andrew Wylie's a literary agent representing some of the biggest names in publishing--Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, the estate of Norman Mailer, etc. He's now screwing Random House by going around them to sell his clients' ebooks straight to the public via Amazon. In a bit of asshole oneupsmanship, Random House responded by announcing they won't cut any deals with the Wylie Agency until this spat is resolved.

Both parties are behaving like assholes here. Fortunately, one of the assholes is on my side (I'm an author - turns out the Author's Guild agrees with me). And that, unfortunately, is exactly what's needed.

Let's get to the essence: Random House essentially stole rights here. They're enormous, and they can get away with things, so they tried to. They pissed off a lot of authors, and some of the biggest authors have channeled their anger through one really powerful author representative, Wylie, to fight back.

to read the rest go here:


Unknown said...

I remember Whip Wilson well. Maybe he moseyed because he was a little hefty.

Ed Gorman said...

I think you may be on to something there, Bill.

Matt said...

...but I thought e-books were going to save the world? Huh. Weird.