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Random House fires back at Amazon deal

The e-book wars rage on!

Midnight Responding to Amazon's announcement that it had secured e-book rights to some classic literature via The Wylie Agency, Random House - the leading trade publisher in the United States - severed English-language business ties with Wylie, angry over the deal to release works by John Updike, Salman Rushdie and other Random authors through Amazon.

From the Associated Press:

' "The Wylie Agency's decision to sell e-books exclusively to Amazon for titles which are subject to active Random House agreements undermines our longstanding commitments to and investments in our authors, and it establishes this Agency as our direct competitor,'' Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum said in a statement. "Therefore, regrettably, Random House on a worldwide basis will not be entering into any new English-language business agreements with the Wylie Agency until this situation is resolved."

The development is the most dramatic result yet of the gap between what agents and authors want to receive and what publishers are willing to pay for e-books. Updike's four Rabbit novels and Rushdie's Midnight's Children are among the 20 famous works coming out for the first time in electronic form, not through a traditional publisher, but through Odyssey Editions, founded by the literary agency of Andrew Wylie, whose clients include the estates of Updike and Saul Bellow and such living authors as Rushdie and Philip Roth.

The books will be sold exclusively through Amazon.com, the leading e-book seller."


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