' Random House responded with sheer thuggery, blacklisting Wylie in a clear attempt to scare other authors and their reps from trying the same thing. Other publishers also expressed outrage in different ways, like Macmillan CEO John Sargent, who railed about how Wylie’s exclusive deals excluded other e-devices like the Sony Reader (like Macmillan really cares about anything other than its own fortunes). What neither of these houses addressed is the $64,000 question: do they control e-book rights in contracts signed before anyone imagined that e-books might surpass print titles? Many feel the answer is no. 'The gall of these huge publishing houses is breath-taking. They have no proof whatsoever that they own the rights to these books but are fighting to death everybody who dares to publish them at less crazy prices. They got used to the inordinately high prices of hardcovers and want to cling to them at any cost. Since Amazon announced last week that its electronic books now outsell hardcovers, they are doing all they can to impose the same insane prices on digital content. That, of course, is daylight robbery.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Publishers Fight Tooth and Nail for Their Right to Rip Off Readers
Andrew Wiley, a literary agent, got sick and tired of fighting with the huge publishing houses over the insanely high percentage of profits they insist on getting from the electronic editions of their titles. So he brokered a direct deal with Amazon to publish these titles at more affordable prices. Of course, the publishers immediately went nuts because their greatest fear right now is that readers will refuse to pay the crazy prices they are trying to charge for digital content. Random House, in particular, went total apeshit on Wiley, alleging (but failing to offer any proof) that the independent literary agent infringed on copyright restrictions: