News

Catherine Cookson estate goes direct in e-book deal

Catherine Cookson's estate has signed a deal to release 100 of her novels as e-books directly through Amazon, cutting out her publishers Transworld and Simon & Schuster (in the US). The e-books went on sale on late last week priced at £3.99. The model is similar to that of the Ian Fleming estate, which cut out Penguin in order to release the James Bond books digitally—though in that case it did not make an exclusive arrangement with Amazon.

The Daily Mail reports the trust's literary agent Sonia Land will sell the e-books via her company Peach Publishing. The trust's literary agent, Sonia Land, has not informed Cookson's print publishers, Transworld Publishers and Simon & Schuster, about the release for fear of opposition. Though it is not clear if Transworld had ever sought the digital rights.

She told the newspaper: "I haven't told either firm about the deal and I am sure they are going to kick up a fuss about it. But at the end of the day, what can they say? They do not own the electronic publishing rights to the works. In recent years, they have shown little interest in marketing or exploiting the Cookson brand. It is a wake-up call for the industry."

In a press statement sent out by Amazon, Land added: "For a long time, Dame Catherine Cookson was the UK's most celebrated and successful novelist. Now, for the first time since her death in 1998, the vast majority of her titles will be available throughout the world."

Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, said: "Dame Catherine Cookson is one of the most popular British writers, and no doubt many American readers of mysteries or romantic thrillers are also familiar with her name."

A Transworld spokesman declined to comment on the deal, but added:  “We firmly believe that it is in the best interests of the book industry as a whole to keep physical and ebook rights together.”

Catherine Cookson is one of the most widely read authors in the United Kingdom with more than 14 million library lends during the past decade.

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I am so happy about this news regarding Catherine Cookson's books becoming ebooks. I'll definitely buy them on my Kindle! I already have them in paperback.

Great news for readers but I'm surprised the agent was so discourteous to the publishers, especially if she wants good book deals for her other authors in future. It's a disgrace that the publishers have to read about the move in the trade press first.

It's a shame Ms Land failed to consider the electronic profile of both her imprint and the titles: a google search for "peach publishing" brings up a company that organises reading groups in pubs. "Peach publishing cookson" brings up a Daily Mail article.

Digital publishing is so much more than simply digitisation: both publishers (and agents considering becoming them) would do well to think about what "representation" and indeed "publishing" means in 2011. Being visible on Google, and capturing searches, ranks highly on my list.

Having a website online to capture inbound links and buzz from articles such as this (and from this weekend's twitter buzz) would help the correct Peach Publishing to rank highly on google searches for Catherine Cookson, capture potential customers, and of course earn referrals from Amazon sales, whilst capturing valuable metrics throughout the process.

You've obviously never come across Sonia.

Ace... can we cut agents out too?

Quote: "A Transworld spokesman declined to comment on the deal, but added: “We firmly believe that it is in the best interests of the book industry as a whole to keep physical and ebook rights together."”

Strange how Transworld spokesman now thinks things should be kept together when everyone knows ebook buyers are getting a raw deal pricewise from these people when they are setting agency prices there by having ebooks more expensive than tree books. Even countering added VAT

I'd love to, but your link goes to a blog piece about WBN...

Indeed, @Unromantic, but seen in the context of the present publishing trend from treebooks to ebooks. Thank you for your interest.

None of you has mentioned the frightful covers, the strangest part of the whole business in my opinion. How could Sonia Land think they were okay?

Unlike Oscar, I really have blogged about this, with an image of a few of the covers.

I am so happy about this news regarding Catherine Cookson's books becoming ebooks. I'll definitely buy them on my Kindle! I already have them in paperback.

Great news for readers but I'm surprised the agent was so discourteous to the publishers, especially if she wants good book deals for her other authors in future. It's a disgrace that the publishers have to read about the move in the trade press first.

You've obviously never come across Sonia.

It's a shame Ms Land failed to consider the electronic profile of both her imprint and the titles: a google search for "peach publishing" brings up a company that organises reading groups in pubs. "Peach publishing cookson" brings up a Daily Mail article.

Digital publishing is so much more than simply digitisation: both publishers (and agents considering becoming them) would do well to think about what "representation" and indeed "publishing" means in 2011. Being visible on Google, and capturing searches, ranks highly on my list.

Having a website online to capture inbound links and buzz from articles such as this (and from this weekend's twitter buzz) would help the correct Peach Publishing to rank highly on google searches for Catherine Cookson, capture potential customers, and of course earn referrals from Amazon sales, whilst capturing valuable metrics throughout the process.

Ace... can we cut agents out too?

Quote: "A Transworld spokesman declined to comment on the deal, but added: “We firmly believe that it is in the best interests of the book industry as a whole to keep physical and ebook rights together."”

Strange how Transworld spokesman now thinks things should be kept together when everyone knows ebook buyers are getting a raw deal pricewise from these people when they are setting agency prices there by having ebooks more expensive than tree books. Even countering added VAT

I'd love to, but your link goes to a blog piece about WBN...

Indeed, @Unromantic, but seen in the context of the present publishing trend from treebooks to ebooks. Thank you for your interest.

None of you has mentioned the frightful covers, the strangest part of the whole business in my opinion. How could Sonia Land think they were okay?

Unlike Oscar, I really have blogged about this, with an image of a few of the covers.