Friday, 23 July 2010

Wiley Agency tells Random House to Fuck Off

Right then, laochs, this was supposed to be a post on how the folk who need to fix their blurbs can fix their blurbs. But the publishing world is dynamic and explosive and sometimes things just can't wait. And one of those things is the Wiley Agency's massive fuck you to Random House.

And guess what, puppies, Macmillan got in on the action. John Sargent must have secret desires to be an author instead of a publisher, because he's always trying to get his name in print.

The History

Okay, so Random House, showing the kind of business acumen that only big publisher's ever display, have decided that they now own things that
  • they didn't ask for
  • they didn't pay for
which is the equivalent of you, young laoch, buying a cinema ticket and declaring that means you own the dvd.

Yes, we know this is completely fucking stupid, and time and again the situation gets explained to Random House, but they just can't grasp the idea that you own what you buy. (This, btw, is one of the big publishing companies so many authors try so hard to put their books with. Really? They don't understand principles of business that a 5-year-old can get).

So, what exactly happened? Well, people wrote books, and they wrote them before e-books were on the agenda. Hell, some of them wrote books before computers were, you know, in every teenager's bedroom. Back in the days when ebook was a typo.

No one knew e-books would be big (we would have known had we not been wrapped in our respective swaddling cloths) and no one could predict the Kindle (not even Nostradamus did it, and he was the best there ever was - much like us here at Scathach). So Random House did not include, anywhere in the contracts of the time, provision for e-books.

In other words, they didn't ask for e-book rights, they didn't pay for e-book rights, they didn't buy e-book rights. So why the fuck do they think they own e-book rights?

Here at Scathach we honestly have no fucking idea. Unless it's a simple case of the average 5-year-old being smarter than the corporate executives of Random House. Which, as time goes by, looks more and more likely.

The now

The Wiley Agency has used the rights of e-books it never sold to enter contract with, giving Amazon exclusive rights to these books for a period of 2 years. They have completely bypassed the publisher and gone straight to the distributor (essentially making Wylie a publisher in its own right). The list of books in the new Odyssey Editions range includes Lolita and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The why

Publisher's give authors 25% of e-book prices as royalty. But e-books are cheaply manufactured and authors want 50%.

The consequences

Random House announced that they will not be entering any new worldwide English-language contracts with the Wiley Agency until the situation is resolved. Or, in other words, Random House is looking for a teacher, crying that the W.A. won't play fair. Boo hoo hoo, R.H., boo hoo hoo.

What the Fucking Twat said

There was a typo in the sub-title for which we apologise profusely. Instead of Fucking Twat it should have said John Sargent. But you know that, right? Course you did, you're smart little laochs.

"It is an extraordinarily bad deal for writers..."

Of course it is, because any deal that gives a writer 1,2,3... 23, 24, 25% extra cash for the sale of every book is ridiculously bad. What stupid writer would actually want to earn $5 for every $9.99 book instead of his usual $2.50? The idiocy of these writers astounds us here at Scathach. We are astonished.


Why? An author's agent handles paying royalties to illustrators. The agent isn't changing.


Bad deal? Sure. Karma? Yeah, probably. If publisher's weren't such fucking wankers these situations would not occur.


If e-books are going to booksellers out of business, they are going to put booksellers out of business. Sure, independents might be putting books online, but they can't hope to compete with Live in the real world. Please?

Clearly Mr Sargent doesn't. His attitude towards the Wiley fiasco reeks of panic and self-preservation. He asks why Wiley doesn't publish e-books through Books-a-Million. Possibly for the same reason Macmillan doesn't?

In Summation

If Wiley hadn't granted exclusivity to Amazon then Sargent would still have his knickers in a twist. Because with agencies seeing there is no point in going with Publishers, Authors will come to realise this, too. Agencies and Authors have been saying work with us, work with us. And the publishers have been ignoring them, and trying to grab every penny.

To be honest, I think Wiley will panic and try to back out of the Amazon deal. Random House is throwing its weight around. But the more the Agency 6 act like babies, the less weight they have to throw around, and the more people will stand up and say a big fuck you.

Anyway, we're going out to enjoy the sunshine. Have a nice weekend, ickle laochs.

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