CEO of Macmillan is appalled at the Wylie deal; Random House disputes rights

Macmillan-Logo.pngMacmillan CEO says of the Wylie deal, in his blog:

I am appalled, however, that Andrew has chosen to give his list exclusively to a single retailer. A basic tenet of publishing is that our function is to reach as many readers as we can. We disseminate our books and the ideas within them as broadly as possible. I understand why Amazon wants an exclusive deal with Andrew. They have asked us too for exclusive product, as has every major retailer we deal with. This is smart retailing, and a great deal for Amazon. But it is an extraordinarily bad deal for writers, illustrators, publishers, other booksellers, and for anyone who believes that books should be as widely available as possible. This deal advantages Amazon, which already has the dominant share in this market. …

This move further empowers the dominant player in the market to the detriment of their competitors and creates an unbalanced retail marketplace. In short, the exclusive-to-Kindle aspect of this deal has no strategic value at all for authors and publishers. Given the advantage for Amazon, I’m sure the deal has been financially attractive for Andrew Wylie’s new venture. In the long run, though, making literature exclusively available digitally to a single retailer will be damaging to the whole book community: authors, agents, publishers, and readers.

In a related story Random House said:

“We are disappointed by Mr. Wylie’s actions, which we dispute. Last night, we sent a letter to Amazon disputing their rights to legally sell these titles, which are subject to active Random House publishing agreements. Upon assessing our business options, we will be taking appropriate action.”

Via eBookNewser

11 Comments on CEO of Macmillan is appalled at the Wylie deal; Random House disputes rights

  1. Macmillan CEO is right and I hope Random House sues heck out of Wylie and Amazon — and wins. There is nothing worse for readers than long-term exclusivity deals; short-term ones are bad enough. This action by Amazon simply reconfirms the rightness of not buying from Amazon.

  2. LOL, the corporate CEO as benevolent protector of freedom and literature….excuse me while I giggle a little upchuck.

    Scott Nicholson

  3. Note to authors signing contracts ….. this is yet another issue that you should be ensuring you do not get snagged by. Your book should never be supplied exclusively to any single or group of retailers. It is anti-competitive and it hurts YOU.Writers need to be moving to a new paradigm this year – reading their contracts and ensuring they are up to date with the new markets.

  4. It’s ironic because I see this as a direct result of the agency price fixing deal that the CEO of Macmillan was involved with.

    When you fix the price between retailers how do they compete and grow market share other then through exclusive content deals? There’s very little value add you can create through web sales.

  5. Richard Askenase // July 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm //

    I posted this on John Sargent’s blog:

    Sounds like a VERY sound business deal to me. First, Wylie probably got asbout 70% royalties for his company/author. Second, the sale price of the ebooks are reasonable (unlike so many of youer company’s prices). Third, if you wanted to publish these books, why didn’t you do so already?

    The point is, Wylie acted for his clients in dealing with the present/future and getting them very good money. MacMillan et als? They sat on their hands and overpriced them, with LOW LOW royalties to the authors.

    Basically, Wylie trumped the Agency 6 at their own game. And you don’t like it? My heart weeps for you. And Random House threatens litigation saying they own the ebook rights when a court in NY has aleady said that they don’t.

    Again, wake up to the 21st century.

  6. John Sargent is upset about this? CEO of Macmillan, the publisher which has pulled the plug on all of its e-book outlets except Amazon, B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo, and Borders? A publisher which no longer allows its e-books to be lent through OverDrive’s library services?

    Mr. Sargent: get Macmillan’s e-books back out there to the other bookstores and to the public libraries, and then you’ll have some credibility on this topic.

  7. I actually wondered about Random House’s position from the minute I heard about this deal — I’ve had The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat on my Wish List in Kindle format for at least a month, fulfilled by Random House. I was curious as to how Wylie could now claim sole digital rights to it.

  8. “A basic tenet of publishing is that our function is to reach as many readers as we can.”

    Particularly humorous coming from a company that prices their ebooks higher than their paperbacks and hardcovers and won’t allow their ebooks to be lent at public libraries.

  9. Can John Sargent and Metallica go on a you-know-we’re-right-but-its-still-massively-lame tour together?

  10. What does the CEO of Macmillan have in common with Lars Ulrich?

    Their reactions produced wonderful examples of the braindead reasoning for the demise of their respective industrious.

  11. industries… dang spellchecker!

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