On Thursday, literary agent Andrew Wylie announced that he and his 700+ authors would be bypassing publishers in order to sell electronic books directly to readers. Through an exclusive, two-year deal with Amazon, this venture, dubbed Odyssey Editions, will produce ebook editions that are available through Amazon’s Kindle store.
Although launching with just 20 classic literary titles this represents many authors’ ongoing dissatisfaction with the terms publishers have offered for ebooks. Publishers and authors have debated royalty percentages as well as which party holds the digital rights to older works published before the arrival of ebooks. Amazon’s efforts to cut out publishers and sign authors directly is also not new. However, these issues may affect how the ebook market develops and the cost of ebooks going forward.
More information on Odyssey Editions may be found in an article here, and some insight into the response from publishers can be found in a NY Times article here.