Amazon Now Turning Authors Against Publishers


You probably heard the news that Amazon has struck a controversial deal with literary agent Andrew Wiley.

It works like this: digital rights are separate from print rights, and Wiley sold an exclusive 2-year license on digital rights, for a certain number of his authors, to Amazon. Or perhaps just the rights to 20 titles. Or perhaps the rights for all 757 of the authors and estates he represents. The details are not totally clear, but the deal appears to include certain novels by Bellow, Roth, Ralph Ellison, and Nabokov at a minimum.

In order to publish these electronic editions, Wiley set up an imprint called Odyssey Books; in retaliation for simultaneously cutting them out of a deal and becoming a competitor, Random House cut the Wiley Agency off, announcing that they would do no further business with Andrew Wiley, and maybe even sue Amazon.

The best analysis of the deal I’ve seen so far is this article at the Constant Conversation: Amazon Partners Up with Possibly the Most Hated Man on the Literary Scene.

Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →