Wylie Agency & Random House Come to Agreement on E-books

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In a joint statement, on Tuesday, August 24, Markus Dohle, the chairman and CEO of Random House, and Andrew Wylie, the president of the Wylie Agency, announced a resolution of their differences over Random House titles included in Wylie’s Odyssey Editions e-book publishing program as digital editions available only from Amazon.com.

“These titles are being removed from that program and taken off-sale,” the pair said. “We have agreed that Random House shall be the exclusive e-book publisher of these titles for those territories in which Random House U.S. controls their rights.”

In mid-July, Wylie's announcement  of the formation of Odyssey Editions to release e-book versions of 20 backlist books by several of the Wylie Agency’s clients in digital form exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle platform for two years drew strong industry reaction.

Under the agreement announced on Tuesday, the disputed titles, which included Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, and Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, will be available soon for sale on a non-exclusive basis through all of Random House’s current e-book customers.

In addition, the statement noted, “Random House is resuming normal business relations with the Wylie Agency for English-language manuscript submissions and potential acquisitions, and we both are glad to be able to put this matter behind us.”

Reacting to yesterday’s announcement, ABA CEO Oren Teicher said, “We’ve always believed that exclusivity in content distribution is never good, and if this agreement means that e-book editions of titles by authors represented by the Wylie Agency will now be available to all retailers, the reading public will benefit.”